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U.S. EPA honors Southern California emergency planning committee


LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently presented the California Local Emergency Planning Committee a 2007 National Notable Achievement Award for leadership in chemical emergency prevention and preparedness in Southern California.

The California Local Emergency Planning Committee Region 1 is a multi-agency planning effort that encompasses Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. The LEPC carries out planning responsibilities set forth in the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act established in 1986.

During a ceremony held in Van Nuys on July 12, the EPA’s Daniel Meer presented a plaque to LEPC Chair Steve Tsumura of the El Segundo Fire Department and other members of LEPC 1.

“Because Southern California industries handle large volumes of hazardous substances such as chlorine, ammonia, and other chemicals within densely populated areas, coordinated emergency response planning is essential,” said Daniel Meer, the EPA’s regional branch chief for emergency response, prevention and preparedness. “We congratulate the California Local Emergency Planning Committee for providing exemplary leadership in emergency planning.”

“Without the dedicated efforts of our volunteer Local Emergency Planning Committee, we could not have participated in such programs as Shelter-In-Place, School Safety, Joint Mutual Aid Exercises, and Risk Management Program outreach to the public,” said Steve Tsumura of the El Segundo Fire Department. “These programs benefit thousands of residents in Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Manhattan Beach and Torrance.”

The involvement of local agencies in the California Local Emergency Planning Committee resulted in recommendations that fire departments schedule drills at major chemical facilities, while developing an understanding of specific hazards and hazardous materials response for communities, residential areas and businesses.

The California Local Emergency Planning Committee provides planning information - in English and Spanish - on topics such as:

Protecting your family - a list of common questions and answers to families during emergencies;
Sheltering-in-place school training kit that includes how to create temporary shelter during an emergency situation;
Emergency checklist that outlines critical supplies needed during an emergency;
Hazardous materials disposal that advises how to properly handle and dispose of household hazardous materials;
Living safely with chemicals -- understanding chemical risk management

The California Local Emergency Planning Committee maintains an on-going local forum for community discussion and action about hazardous chemicals, ensuring the public is prepared for possible chemical hazards and that adequate resources are available.

For more information on the California Local Emergency Planning Committee program, please visit: http://www.lepccalifornia.


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