Local emergency planning committee to add members, take action - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Local emergency planning committee to add members, take action


A couple of months ago, state leaders were asking - Does McLennan County have a local emergency planning committee?

Now people want to know - How will the LEPC help prevent another tragedy like West from happening again?

The group held a public meeting at the Waco Convention Center Thursday morning.  Waco-McLennan County Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Patterson says, "We had a good turnout. A better turnout than we've had in the past."

Emergency responders, law enforcement officials, health leaders and representatives from facilities that use hazardous materials filled the rows, front to back.

Is this sudden interest in the local emergency management committee a direct result of the West fertilizer plant explosion?

Patterson say, "Absolutely. I think that heightened the awareness of industry responsibility as it works with local communities, local fire departments."

Although there's been a lot of finger pointing since the blast, one West alderwoman definitely isn't placing blame on the LEPC.

Jay Maler says, "No I feel like it's a very big task and our government and our local municipalities all have a big challenge there."

One challenge is participation.  The LEPC hasn't updated its membership list since 2007. The hope is that some of these people will now commit to taking an active role in the committee.

Other goals include going digital and educating the public.  The LEPC is working on a website that would give people the ability to look up potentially hazardous facilities near them.

They would also be able to find out who is designated to respond in the event of an emergency.

Maler says, "I think it's a really good idea and I think it's a great start to give people on the ground, when there are emergencies, some tools to make better decisions and find solutions for the problem at hand."

LEPC leaders say today's meeting was merely held for discussion and informational purposes.  An action meeting is planned for October.
































































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