Cristofer Burch, Hazmat Compliance Officer for Norfolk Southern Railroad, who took over his current post just seven months ago, spoke to members attending the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) during their third quarter meeting two Thursdays ago.
Burch handles a large territory that includes four states.
He said the railroad mitigates any spill and not just hazmat. He noticed that hazmat relates to anything coming out of a car on a rail. This could include crushed rock, lime, and more.
Burch noted the tractor trailer incident that recently took place in Martinsburg. He said there was video of the driver getting the number off the blue sign at the crossing and walking over to make a phone call though the truck was still struck by the train. He noted the driver did everything right but just not in time. Burch said the railroad looks to clean up an accident and leave it better than it was before.
He noted a four-hour class for Railroad 101 can be offered to first responders and others. He also said there are public meeting possibilities to discuss how a railroad company operates on a daily basis.
Audrain County Emergency Management Director and LEPC Chairperson Steve Shaw gave out a 30-day notice prior to the meeting for a possible by-laws revision.
During a past meeting, it was discussed that a revision could be added to allow purchases to be made under a certain dollar value without a need for a majority vote for approval.
Jerry Johnson, of the Laddonia Rural Fire Department, said he thought a resolution should be made instead of a by-law addition due to the inability to change it once the measure becomes a by-law.
Shaw said he considered by-laws as they were documented.
Audrain County Presiding Commissioner Steve Hobbs said there could be a standard operating procedure for the measure with a dollar amount attached.
Members eventually approved a standard operating procedure/resolution to allow the chairperson to make equipment purchases up to the amount of $500 without the need for a vote.
Shaw will send out an email with the proper “verbiage” on the change.
The Treasurer’s Report shows a current balance of $9,043.89. Shaw noted that fire departments dealing with Hazmat, if they have a need, perhaps they could bring it to the LEPC to see if the group could be of assistance.
The Secretary’s Report was also approved.
There were no hazardous issues to report in the Quarterly Hazard Incident Report.
The fourth quarter meeting is scheduled for October 19. During that meeting, there will be LEPC elections held along with a tabletop exercise involving Tallgrass and the railroad.
The MERC/SEMA Annex H for 2017 review was discussed and is awaiting December 2017 review after 1 1/2 items are finalized.
The 2017 equipment inventory was completed on May 2 for the LEPC trailer. An inventory list was provided to those who attended.
During the meeting, Monsanto representatives presented a check for $10,000 to the Little Dixie Fire Department to be used for a grain bin rescue unit for entrapments.
The Audrain County LEPC was nominated by Region VII of the EPA for a top LEPC award as it earned Best LEPC honors for groups with a population under 80,000. The 80,000 is the total given by Shaw though the agenda said 40,000. That region includes Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri.
SEMA’s Brenda Gerlach talked about the upcoming Solar Eclipse and its affect on the state. She noted SEOC will start a level 3 of 12-hour shifts on Friday, August 18 through Monday, August 21 and could be extended, if needed.
She also said a SEMA Conference will be held August 22-25 at Tan-Tar-A resorts.
A recovery phase is under way for counties in the state due to flooding this year.