Members of the Local Emergncy Planning District (LEPD) discussed area businesses that have been listed as having "extremely hazardous substances" on their tier II reports. LEPD members noted that representatives from those entities were required to send representation to the meetings.
Federal guidelines require businesses having any of the federally designated "extremely hazardous substances" on site to send a representative to the monthly meetings in order to be advised about updates in regulations and hazardous material training opportunities.
Some of those substances listed by the federal government include sulfuric acid, ammonia, chlorine gas and flouride.
"We are also looking to implement teleconferencing opportunities for local industries who are unable to make the drive to Monett," said David Compron, director of the Barry County Office of Emergency Management.
The LEPD does have teleconferencing equipment, which is currently on loan to the Lawrence County Office of Emergency Management. Chet Hunter, director of the Lawrence County office, reported he has not seen a teleconference phone unit but would track it down and return it to Barry County in order to facilitate the meetings from the Barry County office.
Hunter also requested rotating the location of the LEPD meetings in order to encourage more Lawrence County entities to participate, citing their reluctance to drive to Monett.
"The reason we combined the two entities and formed a district is because so many municipalities and emergency responders and industry leaders have businesses that straddle the Barry-Lawrence County line, and they were having to attend two meetings a month instead of just one," Compton explained. "I have no problem with rotating meetings if that is what this committee decides, but the primary reason we have the meetings in Monett is because it is the halfway point for people in both Lawrence and Barry County who attend these meetings."
Compton suggested sending notices to area entities who should have representation at the meetings, reminding them of the federally mandated requirements and researching teleconferencing capabilities.
Compton reminded those in attendance that plans are progressing to conduct a Hazwoper (hazardous waste operations and emergency response) class in the area. Most industry leaders have the ability to conduct in-house training for the 24-hour session, and Compton is looking to get a 40-hour course taught locally, so that area public works employees and industry hazardous materials technicians may update or obtain their certifications.
In other business, Monett Emergency Management Director Bonnie Witt-Schulte reported that the Immediate Response Information System (IRIS) was available to LEPD members. Those that sign up for the service will receive immediate alerts on e-mail or by telephone in the event of severe weather or other emergencies.
"IRIS is a personal alert system that reaches out with specific messages," Compton said. "It is like any other early warning system. The biggest enemy of public warning systems is apathy."
The next meeting of the LEPD will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15 at the Barry County Office of Emergency Management, located at 1901 E. Cleveland in Monett.