With another meeting featuring no representatives from Vandalia, Martinsburg, Laddonia, and Farber at the same time, Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) Chairperson Steve Shaw announced in a quarterly meeting last week that he felt like he might need to step down. He shared his concerns with the several LEPC members during their luncheon held Thursday, April 20 in the basement of the Audrain County Courthouse.
“I feel like I’m failing,” said Shaw, who was concerned the failure of attendance could be due to possible personal situations between himself and other area departments.
One potential scenario had Shaw resigning and having the LEPC Vice-President Russell Sing take over the position on an interim basis. This would happen with a possible by-law change that would allow anybody in the LEPC to become the chairperson. Sing expressed that he didn’t feel comfortable to assume the responsibility.
Presiding Commisioner Steve Hobbs expressed his frustration with the Missouri Emergency Response Commission (MERC) and the rules it puts in place in regards to the LEPC in regards to training, funding, among other concerns.
The MERC requires 15 people for training exercises to be put on by their approved trainers. Those sessions are expected to have support from all county entities to help the LEPC in Audrain County with its funding.
The discussion even included possibly folding the LEPC but many expressed the benefits of influential county parties holding such a meeting.
Mexico Chief of Public Safety Susan Rockett said whatever happens, there is still a need to maintain the meetings.
Shaw agreed to remain in the position until the current term is finished.
Harold Irvine, Damage Prevention Coordinator of the Northern Operations Group for Koch Pipeline Company L.P., was present to discuss the pipeline that runs through Laddonia.
It was noted that pipeline safety classes were being held later the same night at Steinman’s Banquet Hall.
After accepting and approving the first quarter minutes, the Treasurer’s Report, a quarterly financial report, was also accepted. It showed a recent addition of $4,992.70 in CEPF funds, pushing the balance to $7,410.56.
A MERC and LEPC Hazmat exercise set for May 21 was canceled due to a turnover in MERC personnel. Since the item takes about four to six months to plan, it will likely be rescheduled for later this year.
The LEPC Fundraiser Sub-Committee has met and made a list of possible fundraisers. The need is due to state funding being hard to get as there is barely any money left coming from the state due to cuts.
A brief discussion was held in regards to the multi-gas indicator.
It was reported that county entities had finished their Tier II reporting, per what is required by MERC.
Audrain County Sheriff Stuart Miller asked if there was any penalty for entities not reporting. Shaw said there were and that there was a letter-sending protocol to be followed if reporting is not done. March 1 was the deadline to file.
A reimbursement letter to the Ameren UE/response was received and Mexico Public Safety gets a check to cover the man hours.
There was brief discussion in regards to evacuation routes and respite sites if there was an 8.8 earthquake hitting the nearby New Madrid Fault.
With Highway 54 being a route coming from the epicenter, it is expected there will be at least 1,600 fleeing on day one. A total of 1.7 million could potentially flee from the epicenter.
Some later discussion will likely be related to hazardous materials.
Roads, culverts, bridges, and ramps would all be affected in case of an earthquake.
The exercise includes eight states.
It was noted that the LEPC Trailer is now at the Pearl Motor building.
Shaw and an intern are working on a inventory checklist and are also checking for expiration dates as they go.
A generator maintenance/load test check list is being developed by Shaw. Talks involved S&S and future load testing to make sure the generators will be ready if the need should arise.
There was also some brief discussion on the Everbridge program. It was noted that it is tested in the City of Mexico monthly while the rest of the county is tested quarterly.