Members of the Local Emergency Planning District (LEPD) were invited to participate in the 2011 Association of American Railroads Haz-Mat seminar, scheduled for May 24 through May 26 in St. Louis. The nine-car teaching train is geared toward firefighters and SWAT team training.
The train is set up so emergency responders can receive hands-on training in dealing with railroad emergencies ranging from chemical hazards to terrorist attacks.
"This would certainly be good training for both law enforcement and emergency responders," said David Compton, director of the Barry County Office of Emergency Management.
Additional training and learning opportunities includes: the 23rd annual Missouri Emergency Management Conference scheduled for May 3-6 in Branson; the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad Missouri Training Tour March 23 and 24, and April 23 and 30 at selected locations; and the DuPont Railroad Training May 9-13, Aug. 29-Sept. 2 and Sept. 12-16 at selected locations.
More information on those sessions may be obtained by calling Compton at 417-235-0200.
In other business, Compton advised LEPD members about changes to the Missouri Sunshine Law that now protects vital chemical storage information as reported to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). Files concerning confidential information are now secured in such manner that those seeking access to them will first be subject to questioning by both local law enforcement and Missouri Emergency Response Commission officials prior to that information being released. If it is determined by those entities that the request is not valid, the information will remain confidential.
"We are not required to disclose that information to just anyone who is asking," Compton said. "There has to be a legitimate reason."
Finally, Compton reported on a semi-tractor trailer that overturned on Interstate 44 near Halltown on Jan. 20, spilling 150 gallons of diesel fuel and 20 gallons of kerosene.
Emergency responders from Halltown, Stotts City and Mt. Vernon answered the call, and the spill was quickly contained. Sunbelt Environ-mental, of Springfield, was called in to mitigate the contaminated soil.
The next meeting of the LEPD will be at 10 a.m. on March 17 at the Monett Justice Center.