Tyler County Is Prepared for Spills
The Tyler County Local Emergency Planning Committee was given a chance Feb. 1 to explore the new Office of Emergency Management spill trailer. The spill trailer was purchased by Eureka Midstream,while the Tyler County Commission donated $6,000 to buy supplies to fill the trailer.
The new spill trailer was just one of several items discussed at the Feb. 1 LEPC meeting. Attendees were informed that the Statewide Interoperable Radio Network (SIRN) radios have been paid for and programmed. These radios will allow first response organizations to communicate with one another without any interference. These are the same radios used by the National Weather Service.
Also, the OEM has been awarded $25,000 for a breathing air compressor, but there was an issue as to whether or not the trailer will be able to support the weight of the machine.
Also, the original bid was on a scuba compressor for $25,000 but the cascade air compressor is $30,000. Homeland Security suggested there will be more money to allocate toward the air compressor later on.
The LEPC was also informed that a $20,000 Search and Rescue grant has been applied for, and the OEM is waiting on a response, while the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department generator request has been submitted to FEMA; the OEM is waiting for an approval on this request as well.
The Code Red notification system is expected to be completed in February. The system is in place, but all of the databases have not been uploaded into the system yet.
In another matter, the LED sign grant has been approved in the amount of $87,000, and bids are being sent out. There have only been two businesses bid on the project so far, and the OEM is hoping to get more of a response from businesses willing to take on the project. These signs will be located throughout the county and will flash emergency notifications in the case of an emergency.
Also, Rover Pipeline had previously donated $10,000 to the Tyler County OEM which will be divided up among county first response agencies. Each agency will receive $1,600.
There was a search and rescue field training event held on Jan. 13, which included training on SIRN radios, Search and Rescue forms and lightning strikes. Another SAR training is scheduled for Feb. 10 with details to be announced at a later date. The OEM is also working on setting up a K9 training event in vacant homes. This will be a cadaver training experience for the K9s.
It was also noted that the Local Emergency Planning Committee will need to start planning exercises for 2018. Some of the suggested exercises included Hazmat, Mass Casualty and SIRN radio communications. It was suggested to hold a workshop with local first responders to make sure that everyone understands the potential of the SIRN radios that will be available.
There will need to be two plans chosen to review for 2018. Some of the suggested plans included Public Works, Hazmat Response and possibly a Conaway Lake Dam plan through the DNR. It was suggested that with the increase of oil and gas industry, and potential gas hub storage, Tyler County have a solid Hazmat response. If a Hazmat incident were to arise, the county would currently have to request that a Hazmat team be called in. The closest Hazmat team is located in Clarksburg, so it would take time for the team to even respond to an emergency. Therefore, it is a major concern that Tyler County develop a reliable Hazmat response team. It was suggested to present the idea to United States Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to get his support with providing Hazmat assistance to the county.
Also, the OEM has been working with Community Resources and WV Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to provide assistance to two homes with special needs occupants. These homes lost their furnaces and sump pumps during the recent flood, and the occupants were forced to use small electric heaters during recent cold weather.
The OEM has recently acquired a set of large animal rescue equipment. They are searching for instructors to teach a course on Large Animal Rescue. Anyone with large animal experience is encouraged to attend the training. Also, the OEM is searching for a used bumper-pull stock trailer to haul the equipment, as well as transport a large animal if necessary. This will be used specifically for animals that need rescued, not to be confused with animals that need veterinary treatment.
The Tyler County Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Dislocated Worker Grant to allow stream cleanups throughout the county. This will create jobs in the county, as well as clean up streams that have been filled with debris after the recent floods. The OEM will work with these agencies by providing locations of areas needing work.
Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc. sponsored the February breakfast for the Feb. 1 meeting. The donation consists of a $200 donation to the Tyler County Senior Citizens center.
The next scheduled LEPC meeting is set for March 1, 9 a.m., located at the senior citizens center in Middlebourne.