BY ALEX KING
A total of 25 volunteers attended the Sept. 5 Local Emergency and Planning Committee (LEPC) meeting in the Sistersville Fire Hall on 121 Maple Lane. As the meeting began, those new to the group introduced themselves to established members.
September was announced as Preparedness Month. The health department will have a meeting on Sept. 9, 1 p.m., at the St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Paden City about Emergency Preparedness kits. LEPC Vice-chairman Tom Cooper suggested that the county industry and businesses may be asked to donate preparedness kits.
Cooper reported on his experience at the State LEPC meeting in Charleston, W.Va., at the end of August. According to him, several county and state LEPCs have been receiving a lot of calls concerning what chemicals are in a specific area of industry. He relayed that such inquiries should be sent to the state first before the county answers. He also suggested adding it to the by-laws that any questions concerning chemicals that are posed to any county LEPC should be sent straight to the state.
To this, Member Al Tuttle mentioned the possibility that someone could call in and misrepresent themselves in order to attain private information for illegal and potentially harmful purposes.
Cooper reported that he has given the five inter-operable radios to representatives of the Sistersville, Middlebourne, and Alma EMS squads. LEPC Member and Superintendent of Tyler County Schools Robin Daquilante stated that she would, at a future date, like to discuss the possibility of putting such radios in all of the school buses.
Scott Northcraft from radio station 93R suggested setting it up so that Tyler County School's 24-hour radio station WRSG will have the ability to air emergency broadcasts when needed through the Emergency Alerting System (EAS). To do so will require putting a link between the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) office and the radio station's tower.
Sherri Schafer, executive director of the Community Lutheran Partners Inc., introduced herself as a representative of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), an umbrella for faith-based volunteers who arrive following disasters to help set up long term recovery committees in the affected areas.
In annex news, Member Troy Smith said that he had read over the Transportation Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) and will be ready to give a report on that annex at the Oct. 3 meeting.
Smith also discussed concerns he had about an area of road eroded by rain. He said that, one-and-a-half miles up Jefferson Run buses are having trouble traveling routes due to the damage on that section of road. He indicated that seven families with school age children now have to meet the bus on state Route 18.
While relaying that the Moundsville Department of Highways (DOH) has not prioritized fixing that section of road, Smith pointed out that emergency vehicles would also have trouble passing over the road. Cooper agreed to send the information gathered by Smith to Homeland Security.
Cooper announced that several pipeline trainings and dinners will be held during the month of September. Anyone interested in attending one of those trainings or dinners can reach his office at 304-758-55155 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breakfast was sponsored by Jay-Bee Oil & Gas and prepared by the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary. The next LEPC meeting will be held Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. in the Sistersville Fire Hall. Meetings are open to the public.