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Exercises to Test Emergency Response Plans Are A Crucial Step for LEPCs

Exercises to Test Emergency Response Plans Are A Crucial Step for LEPCs

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Each year, almost 20,000 incidents involving hazardous materials occur in the United States, causing fatalities, injuries, and expensive property damage (US Department of Transportation). Preplanning is a vital step toward incident preparedness and prevention, but an often-overlooked aspect of planning is testing the plan. Conducting a seminar and tabletop exercise is a best practice enabling participants to learn more about the plan, ask questions in a low-risk environment and then practice implementing the plan through a tabletop exercise.

Alliance Solutions Group, Inc. (ASG) recently led an incident response seminar and tabletop exercise (TTX) in Oregon to confirm the effectiveness of a Local Emergency Planning Committee’s (LEPC) Emergency Response Plan (ERP). ASG collaborated with over 40 private facilities and dozens of public sector responders to develop the county’s first ERP and various GIS-based planning tools that employed plume models, evacuation models and decision support tools.

Representatives from multiple jurisdictions and agencies participated in the exercise, including the County Disaster Management Office, County Fire Departments, Regional Hazmat teams, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office, Law Enforcement, Water Providers, EPA and various private companies. The participants discussed an incident involving the release of anhydrous ammonia from a ruptured tanker truck hose and addressed plans, procedures, implementation of unified command, situational awareness, alerting, warning and notification and operational coordination.

The event was successful in achieving the objectives and identified areas for improvement. Participants highlighted that “this was a valuable exercise and well worth my time” and “[the exercise was conducted at a] good pace and interesting through the whole exercise.”

About ASG: ASG has a wide range of experience conducting over 2,000 exercises in 45 states and 17 countries. To learn more about conducting an exercise for your LEPC, locality or region, contact ASG:
Bob Campbell, robert. campbell@asg-inc.org, (757) 223-7233, www.asg-inc.org.