Emergency planning district recalls equipment for inventory

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Members of the Local Emergency Planning District (LEPD) are recalling all equipment currently on loan to other agencies so the organization's inventory lists can be updated.

The motion came following a suggestion from Tom Jones to bring all of the LEPD-owned equipment "home," so it is accessible to all partner agencies.

A committee has been formed to move the remainder of the equipment and materials to a new location and organize the storage facility.

"At the time, we were in a smaller building with no storage capacity, and it made sense to have the equipment out at other agencies," said David Compton, director of Barry County Emergency Management. "Now that we have the space and a larger facility, we should have all of the equipment in one place."

LEPD Chairman Charlie Garrison appointed a committee that includes Jones, Bonnie Witt-Schulte, Karen Brown and James "Chewy" Vroman to complete the inventory.

In other business, Compton announced tentative classes for 2012. Learning opportunities will be available to emergency responders and industry leaders in the areas of hazardous materials awareness, hazardous materials operations, liquid propane fire exercises and a hazardous materials symposium.

LEPD members were cautioned about a recent chemical suicide that occurred in Republic on Nov. 17.

"The individual used a technique more common to Indonesia," Compton said. "This was the first to occur in our area, and the person did not leave a warning note on his vehicle.

"If not for a sharp-eyed patrol officer, this could have been a bad situation for police, fire and ambulance personnel," Compton added.

First responders at the scene of a chemical suicide can quickly be overcome and killed by vapors escaping from an opened window or door if the victim does not leave a warning note. Responders are trained to immediately use specialized skills to vent the vehicle and retrieve the body if the note is present.

"In this instance, there was no note," Compton said. "This person put several others at risk."

Two upcoming trainings are planned for Barry and Lawrence counties on the topic of chemical suicide. Lt. Shane Anderson with the Monett Fire Department will be coordinating those classes.

Anderson will also partner with industry leaders to research options on obtaining HAZWOPER (hazardous waste operations and emergency response) training criteria to be used locally.

Certified local instructors will be able to offer the 40-hour training and the 24-hour refresher courses to area industry emergency response teams at a considerable savings over those offered commercially.

"As long as we meet the standards of the five basic training requirements, we should be able to teach the course," Anderson said.

There will not be a meeting of the LEPD in December. The next meeting will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, in the community room at 1901 E. Cleveland in Monett.

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