March 31, 2011

Garnett, Kansas



The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) met on March 31, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. with the following members present: J.D. Mersman, Anderson County Fire/Emergency Mgmt.; Marvin Grimes, Anderson County Emergency Mgmt; Robert Robbins, Anderson County EMS; Kristie Kinney, City of Garnett; John Alford, EKAE; Don Blome, USD #365; Jessi Zillner, Anderson County Communication Center; James K. Johnson, Anderson County Commissioner; Freddy Partida, Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline; Bob Palmer, Lybarger Oil; Cheryl Strobel, Apple Bus Co.; and Mike Thweatt.

Absent: Kelly Meyers, KSANG; Pat Tate, Public Safety; Oscar West, EKAE; Margo Williams, Anderson County Hospital; Diane Bertone, SEK-Multi-County Health Department; Alan Quaintance, School District # 365; Michelle Miller, Anderson County Public Information Officer – Road Dept.; Jolene Alexander, USDA – FSA; Nate  Cunningham, Anderson County EMS/St. Rose; Trent McCown, KDWP; Jim Manning, KDWP; Glenn Mudd, Beachner Grain; Don Nungesser, Anderson County EMS; Scot Brownrigg, Anderson County Sheriff; Troy S. Hart, Garnett Fire; Kevin Ryan, KDOT; Christina Rush, Anderson County Hospital.



J.D. Mersman, Committee Chairperson, called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.



No discrepancies in the minutes were reported.



J.D. Mersman, Committee Chairperson, reported that several people reported that they were not going to be able to attend this meeting so anyone absent today is an approved absence.


J.D. Mersman reported that the State forms for this committee, have been approved and are ready to send to the State.  



Robert Robbins reported that the hospital is looking at the first of May to have the training exercise. They are planning an accident where a truck, pulling out of Beachner Grain, will run into a school bus full of children. There will be multiple injuries and an anhydrous spill from the truck. Patients must be transported to the hospital in order for the hospital to meet its State requirements. He said they will check to see if the high school drama students will be the patients. Don Blome said they will need to contact Kenny Kellstadt, Garnett High School Principal. Robert Robbins said they will get information out to the public prior to the training exercise.


Marvin Grimes reported that he visited with Beachner Grain’s Safety Officer and they are excited about participating in the training exercise. They are planning to have the training exercise scene on the road in Prairie Park Plaza, by the hotel. He has visited with the hotel staff and they want to be involved in the exercise as well, so that if something should ever happen there, they will know what to do. He asked Cheryl Strobel to stay after this meeting so they can discuss the training exercise plans.


J.D. Mersman asked if a date has been set yet, to which Robert Robbins replied that they have not looked at that yet. Marvin Grimes said if any of the LEPC Committee members companies are not involved in the exercise, they are still welcome to come out and serve as an evaluator and observe. He said if anyone wants to see anything specific at their facilities, we could plan an exercise for that.


J.D. Mersman asked Mike Thweat whether he was involved in the tactical training the law enforcement did at the high school, to which Mike replied that he was not. Robert Robbins reported that it was tactical and medic training. J.D. said the officers he has spoken to said it was a good training and they learned a lot.


J.D. Mersman asked if Marvin Grimes and Jessi Zillner had met with John Alford and Oscar West at the ethanol plant concerning their Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) and maps. Jessi reported that she did get their plan and will have it loaded in the dispatch system. John Alford stated that their plan is an Incident Action Plan (IAP), which covers anything that may occur such as fires, spills, or anything else that might happen. The staging areas will depend upon what the emergency is. He said if it is an ammonia leak, it will depend upon the wind direction. There are two (2) wind socks and three (3) flag poles at the ethanol plant.


Jessi Zillner said dispatch is acting as the gatekeeper of each company’s plans, so everyone will know where to go get the plan with the information that they need. She said the plans will all be organized in the 911 system for each company. 


J.D. Mersman reported on the Vulnerable Needs Assessment and said he is working with the United Way and how they are getting the data in for our county.  He said we need to do more to get the information out to the public again. Jessi Zillner reported that Kristie Kinney has provided a list of City utility customers who have special needs. Kristie Kinney reported that the City’s Spring newsletter is going out today and she put an article in the newsletter requesting that citizens let us know if they have special needs or medical issues, so that first responders can better help them in a disaster, or so that the City can notify the citizens in need of a planned outage. She said hopefully we will get some more customers who have special needs coming forward.


Jessi Zillner reported that the County Commission approved the new system so they have it up and running now. She said this is the system that will map the address of vulnerable needs citizens. Marvin Grimes asked if there was a massive outage whether the dispatch will be able to identify the vulnerable needs in an area. Jess replied yes and said the program has thousands of different icons, so they can put an oxygen icon on that address. Dispatch will be able to identify the type of equipment that citizens may have, such as a ventilator. She said the system enables the dispatch to be able to zoom into a specific area and click on the icon to get the individuals specific information and it will do the same thing for burn permits.



J.D. Mersman opened the floor for any new business to discuss or any training to report on.

Bob Palmer asked if there is a list of LEPC committee members and phone number, in case he needs to contact someone. J.D. Mersman will email the list to him.


Bob Palmer reported that he is working on a list of resources that Lybarger Oil has available to use in an emergency. He said they have trucks all over Anderson County, as well as in several other counties. If something happens and the trucks in our county are not available, there are propane and refined fuel trucks in other counties. He said they keep fuel tanks full in other counties, so they would still be able to get fuel into Anderson County. J.D. asked that members give their lists to him or Marvin Grimes and he said he will compile the information into books for everyone. Emergency Management will keep the master copy.


Bob Palmer reported that he also has the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for Lybarger Oil to turn in to Marvin as well. Marvin suggested that they sit down with him to go over the plan, like they did with the ethanol plant so Jessi can include where the tanks are sitting in the mapping system.


Don Blome reported that prom is Saturday, April 16, 2011. J.D. Mersman asked whether there has been an extradition drill at the school in awhile to deter drunk driving, Don replied that there has not. Robert Robbins said he thought it had been over five (5) years ago, to which

Jessi Zillner agreed. Robert said it would be tough to put a drill together this year with the timeframe available, and Don agreed.


Don Blome reported that construction should start on the new school building approximately June 1, 2011. J.D. Mersman asked whether the location is in city limits. Don replied that it is not right now but hopefully it will be annexed in. Kristie Kinney reported that the City does plan to annex the land into the city limits and has talked to KCP&L to try to be able to provide the electric service there as well.


Jim Johnson asked whether KCP&L will let the City have that coverage. Kristie replied that the City is hopeful, but anytime property is annexed into the city limits and the City wants to service the utilities, the City must pay that company three (3) years of the average cost of usage, so it can be a substantial amount, but in this case there is no utility history on the undeveloped field.

Don Blome said he thinks the building will probably be on KCP&L. Bob Palmer said Lybarger Oil is on KCP&L and so is Kid’s Creation next door. He said the City’s service runs between two (2) of their buildings and a couple of years ago he contacted KCP&L because they wanted to put electrical in their building where their truck bays are, and KCP&L suggested that he talk to the City.  They ended up having to have an agreement with both parties, so part of their buildings have City electric and the main building has KCP&L. Jessi Zillner said electric utility providers is more information that they want to have in the dispatch system should there be a fire and they need to have the utilities pulled.


John Alford reported that staff at the ethanol plant met with Marvin Grimes and Jessi Zillner and he said the meeting went well and he hopes they came away with an understanding of what they do at the ethanol plant, and what they are trying to do. Marvin and Jessi both agreed that the meeting was very beneficial. John reported that in 18 days, they will have 16 years with zero lost time.


Freddy Partida reported that he is still working on the list of resources and the standby generator for the Welda fire department. Southern Star is involved in the April 811 Dig Safe. They will be meeting with landowners on their pipeline and teachers, so they are aware that Southern Star pipelines are in their vicinity when they are going to dig, and to call 811 or 1-800-DIG SAFE.


 J.D. Mersman asked if there was specific information that Freddy needs on the fire station in Welda for the generator. Freddie replied that Troy Hart told him it was a 200 amp, so he needs to find out what the standby is before he tries to get it approved.  Marvin Grimes said he spoke with Mike Brownrigg, who is on Welda’s Township Board, and the board seemed excited about it. Freddy said that Paul Holman, Welda Township Board member, talked to him.


Robert Robbins reported that he has a lot of State required training that must be done this year.


J.D. Mersman reported that we had a communication issue with one (1) of the helicopters coming in for an accident, on the radio frequency.  Jessi Zillner said he had the wrong frequency and said the company doesn’t service this area very often so they had not updated their frequency for quite awhile, but they have the correct frequency now. Robert Robbins said Life Team was bought out by Eagle Med and they are in the transition now. Marvin Grimes asked whether the hospital staff was frequently in telephone contact with the helicopter companies. Robert said the companies will come to Garnett, but Life Team does not, because of where they are out of and we don’t use them very often. But Life Flight, Eagle Med and Life Star do. Marvin said each of the companies use different channels that they want to talk on. Several talk on the State Fire Mutual Aid channel and some use our fire frequency. Robert said he can contact them and as long as we inform them of what channel we will be on, they should put it in all of their bases. He will call them and see what they prefer to be contacted on, but said he would prefer that everyone is using one (1) of our channels, because it can get confusing. Marvin said they could use the county fire frequency when they are coming in and J.D. Mersman agreed that they use that when they are landing. Jessi Zillner said she had told Life Team, when they were having issues, to use the county fire frequency as their main contact frequency, as instructed by J.D. J.D. said that is the frequency most of the companies run on, but we need to get it standard so everyone is on the same frequency. Robert agreed and said if he is working on a patient, changing radio frequency is going to be the last thing he is thinking of.


Marvin Grimes reported that they are talking about an accident, last Saturday morning, where two (2) helicopters came in at the same time. He said emergency response had communication with one (1) helicopter, but not the other. Whenever helicopters come in, whoever is in charge on the fire department will talk with them as they come in, so we can direct them to a landing area to avoid power lines, and provide wind speeds and other obstacles as they are landing. Sometimes, EMS will give a patient update to them as well.


Jessi Zillner said she forgot to mention that April 10-16, 2011 is National Telecommunicators Week.


Marvin Grimes said we are getting into severe storm weather again and there could be some come in this weekend.


John Alford asked if the Code Red alerts everyone who signed up for it and if it alerts surrounding counties on the weather. J.D. Mersman replied that the system will take the weather alert box and overlay their map in the system. It will only call the numbers in the actual warning and not the numbers outside of that warning box. John asked if a tornado was spotted whether it will then call everyone. J.D. replied that it is based on the warning area that they issue. He said the Weather Warning System has improved and become so sophisticated, that it has eliminated a lot of the false warnings. He said it is not 100%, because the system still gets overloaded and we are getting about 80-85% of the numbers connected. Freddy Partida asked if there was a way to tell whether a Code Red call was from Anderson County or Allen County, because he subscribes to both counties and when a call comes in, he doesn’t know which county it is for. He said they have facilities in both Anderson County and Allen County and that is why he subscribed to both counties system. He said it would help if the warning could add the county name or a caller ID. J.D. will check with the Code Red Operations Manager this afternoon. Jessi Zillner said the dispatchers will also call out an announcement over the county fire frequency, so if they have a scanner they would know the warning calls made by Anderson County’s dispatchers. Freddy said staff is trying to talk him into buying a weather radio. Marvin Grimes said they should, because that is the best notification. Freddy stated that they had a weather radio in the control room but, because it was below the electrical room it didn’t work. They also have no cell service there either without stepping outside.

J.D. Mersman reported that Code Red will only call on warnings, not watches. Bob Palmer asked if the Code Red will work on cell phone numbers, to which Marvin Grimes and J.D. replied that they would. J.D. said the cell phone numbers have to be manually entered and he will give Bob an application form. He said the system is also using texting and emailing now as well.


J.D. Mersman reported that now the Code Red system provides the ability to begin building contact groups to email out text messages to those specific groups. He said he would like each facility to compile the names, cell phone numbers, email and/or home phone numbers for who may need to be contacted in an emergency. For texting on a cell phone, they will also need the carrier. If time permits, they plan to try to contact groups in emergencies. They are working on training the dispatchers. 


Marvin Grimes said each facility probably has that information implemented in the facility’s Emergency Action Plan. For this information to be loaded into the Code Red system in the event of an emergency, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get the information entered and sent out, so it takes some time for an evacuation.


J.D. Mersman said they are also getting the Code Red system streamlined so that the calls launch faster. He said it would require someone to get online and launch the group email call, since it is internet based. He said when dispatch is busy it’s hard to get the calls out, but they are working on getting more people access to the system. He asked each facility to provide an essential personnel list to him and Marvin, so they can start building some contact groups. He reported that the County is allowed about 16,800 minutes per 12-month period, and the email and texting does not count against our minutes. We currently are at 6,500 and we still have to go to July. Whenever they launch a call out to our full county, it uses about 4,000 of our minutes. The 16,000 minutes is what is built into the contract for Anderson County and if we go over those minutes, then it starts to get expensive. He said if we have to use it, we will, we just need to be careful.


Bob Palmer asked how a number is removed from the Code Red system if someone has a landline number that is disconnected, and whether it was costing minutes for a number that has been deleted. J.D. Mersman replied that it does cost minutes if the number has been disconnected, and it can also bog down the system because it keeps trying to call that number. He said about once a year, the Operations Manager will send out a test to all registered numbers in the county system. If she doesn’t get a response and it appears to not be in service, they will drop that line.


J.D. Mersman said it would be best to get the Code Red application to anyone moving into the county, so they know that they need to go online to register. He said it takes some time to get the system updated once a citizen registers. Jessi Zillner suggested that we get the forms to all new utility customers moving into the City. Kristie Kinney reported that all new City utility customers are given a new citizen packet and Cecilia Lamb, Chamber of Commerce Secretary, provides information and freebies from several businesses in town. She said she thought a copy of the Code Red application form is added to the packets, and she said she will ensure that they are added if not.  


Jessi Zillner asked whether it costs us minutes every time there is a weather warning. J.D. Mersman replied that the weather warnings were different. He said when we send a call such as for the manhunt, it uses our minutes but the weather warnings are on a separate system and we pay a set amount each year for the weather warnings.

Marvin Grimes reported that Emergency Management gets good feedback about the Code Red. There are some who want the warnings in the daytime but they don’t want it to wake them at night, but that is not how the system works. He said there is no guarantee that someone registered in the system will get a call, so it is still best to have the weather radio as well.


Kristie Kinney reported that the City hopes to have someone hired for the police chief position by mid-April. She also reminded everyone to vote next Tuesday, April 5th.


Marvin Grimes reported that on April 12, 2011 the county-wide fire meeting will begin at Beachner Grain to review the chemicals they use. He said the EMS technicians and Law Enforcement officers are always welcome to participate with them. Once they are finished at Beachner Grain, they will go to the Community Building for their meal and a slide presentation. He said the next county-wide fire meeting in two (2) months will be at Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline in Welda, and the following county-wide fire meeting will probably be at the ethanol plant.  


Jim Johnson asked when Colony’s new fire station was supposed to be completed. Marvin Grimes estimated that the station will probably be finished in the next couple of months. There will be an open house when it is completed and Bush City fire station will also have an open house.  He said he hopes many residents come to the Colony open house, because they have a storm shelter that will hold several people. The building is one (1) bay larger than the City of Garnett’s fire station. There was a grant for the Colony station with the County paying a portion. There will be a generator at this building, so it can be used as a shelter.


J.D. Mersman reported that on April 16, 2011 at 8:00 a.m., there will be a demonstration and testing of new extradition tools on the regional rescue truck at Long’s Wrecker Service. He invited anyone who wants to observe their demonstration.  


The next committee meeting will be April 28, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at the Law Enforcement Center.


There being no further business to come before the committee, a motion was made by

Jim Johnson, seconded by John Alford to adjourn at 11:00 a.m. Motion passed.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Kristina L. Kinney, Secretary