September 22, 2011

Garnett, Kansas



The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) met on September 22, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. with the following members present: Jolene Alexander, USDA – FSA; John Alford, EKAE;    Don Blome, USD #365; Marvin Grimes, Anderson County Emergency Mgmt; Brianna Hiles, SEK Multi-County Health Department; Jeff T. Hupp, Anderson County Sheriff; Kristie Kinney, City of Garnett; J.D. Mersman, Anderson County Fire/Emergency Mgmt.; Glenn Mudd, Beachner Grain; Bob Palmer, Lybarger Oil; Kevin PeKarek, Garnett Police Chief;                  Alan Quaintance, USD # 365; Robert Robbins, Anderson County EMS; Christina Rush, Anderson County Hospital; Kevin Ryan, KDOT; Pat Tate, Public Safety; Oscar West, EKAE; and Margo Williams, Anderson County Hospital.


Absent: Nate Cunningham, Anderson County EMS/St. Rose; Troy S. Hart, Garnett Fire;     James K. Johnson, Anderson County Commissioner; Jim Manning, KDWP; Trent McCown, KDWP; Michelle Miller, Anderson County Public Information Officer – Road Dept.;              Don Nungesser, Anderson County EMS; Freddy Partida, Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline; Leslea Rockers, East Central KS Agency on Aging; Cheryl Strobel, Apple Bus Co.;              Mike Thweatt, Kansas Highway Patrol; and Jessi Zillner, Anderson County Communication Center.



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



A motion was made by Pat Tate, seconded by John Alford to approve the minutes of July 21, 2011. Motion passed.



Jackie Miller, Regional Coordinator for State Homeland Security, Kansas Division of Emergency Management, provided information on the duties, responsibilities and authority of Local Emergency Planning Committees. On Dec. 3, 1984 in India, a methyl isocyanate (MIC) chemical leak resulted in over 2,500 deaths and thousands of injuries. The United States started looking at chemical accidents after this, which resulted in the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA or SARA Title III).  The objective was to improve local response to unplanned releases of hazardous materials and to provide citizens and local government’s access to information about what is in our community. SARA Title III requires a planning district/planning committee at the county level in Kansas, which is the LEPC. It also requires the development of an emergency plan for preparing and responding to chemical emergencies. In Kansas, the LEPC doesn’t develop a separate plan, but is part of the county’s emergency operation plan. Paperwork on certain chemicals is required to be filed with the LEPC through the local Emergency Management. Hospitals and first responders need to know this information. The information is an open record under the Kansas Open Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act at the federal level, so this information is also available to the public.   


It was noted that the only representation that is not on the LEPC is the media. Ms. Miller encouraged that the media be invited to participate. We have a Chairman and by-laws have all been approved by the State. The list of members has been sent to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and has been approved. The LEPC will be working on preparation of a response plan for receiving and processing information requests in coordination with the Emergency Operations Plan. The plan will need to be reviewed annually. The requirement to evaluate the need for additional resources should be ongoing during the LEPC meetings.


Ms. Miller said the LEPC Handbook is currently going through revision, so she will bring that to our committee when it has been completed. She provided members with a handout overview of the LEPC.


Ms. Miller said she had attended Lawrence’s LEPC meetings and every meeting had some sort of training component in the form of a 10-15 minute mini exercise or a presentation from a local industry on their hazmat response. They also conducted their meetings with Old Business and New Business, and then they always had some sort of training component, which she felt was a good way to conduct the LEPC meetings.


Ms. Miller said she is excited that the LEPC is discussing exercises. Money that the county receives for the Emergency Management Performance Grant has new requirements including: a minimum of three (3) exercises each year; training and exercise workshop; and goals for the next three (3) years. Exercises include: full scale; seminar; exercise workshops; table top exercises and functional exercises. A full scale exercise is the most advanced, time consuming and the most expensive, but definitely tests the response capabilities; a seminar, is taking sections of the county emergency operations plan and walk through the updates to make sure everyone knows what their responsibilities are. Table top exercises are discussion-based exercises, or a methodology, to test capabilities by a discussion of questions and answers. There are 37 target capabilities on the target list. She said before you think of the scenario, you need to think about what capabilities you are testing, such as communications, on-site incident management, search and rescue, fire suppression, and public information. Functional exercises are still simulated, but by pushing through a lot of simulated information, and you are expected to do things such as an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) exercise, to push through information on an incident and complete an Incident Action Plan (IAP) based upon the information coming in. Functional exercises are more intense exercises and test different functions than the table top, workshop or seminar. The full scale is the exercise where you roll your equipment and bring out the victims. She said she encourages people to start small and grow on their training exercises. She said she recommends starting with an exercise workshop to explain to everyone what is at the location, such as the ethanol plant, on their abilities and safety features. She said once that is done, then move to a table top exercise and then to a full scale exercise.


John Alford agreed that he would rather start small on the ethanol plant exercise because they want to retain positive public relations during the exercise and show that they are ready and prepared. Jackie Miller stated that this would be a great topic for a workshop, or even a table top, to make sure everyone is fully aware of what sort of training, safety features, and what else they have onsite, such as hazmat techs. She said during an exercise, we need to also throw other scenarios in when an accident happens, such as a county fire at the same time as an ethanol emergency leak, which is another good discussion point. 



J.D. Mersman thanked Robert Robbins, Vice-Chairperson, for chairing the last meeting and stated that the minutes reflected that we had a great meeting.



Margo Williams reported that the hospital is revamping their emergency preparedness. They will be having a drill in the future, possibly in conjunction with the State, whose drills are outlined, but the hospital can expand on them as much as they want. Robert Robbins reported that the State provides them with a choice of drill scenarios to choose from and outlines the losses and other details. Margo said the trend has gone to drills that have situations which have escalated over a period of one or two days, and then isolation, and how long you can sustain and function by yourself without outside assistance. She said mutual aid will also be looked at as to how much help we can get from other areas in our region. Marissa Hudson coordinates Emergency Preparedness at all the St. Luke’s region facilities, and she is very involved with the federal and State regarding emergency preparedness, so she is an excellent resource for assistance. In addition, Willie Schmidt at Northeast Kansas Emergency Preparedness through KDHE is also a resource. She said the hospital can get any of these representatives to come down and evaluate and supervise any of the drills, and she said she is going to encourage them to do that. They really want to help, they are great resources, and they do not cost us anything for their assistance. J.D. Mersman said the ethanol plant has expressed interest in participating in a full scale exercise. Margo said she felt the State would be thrilled to find out what is in our community and work the scenario around that.


Margo Williams asked who is notified when there is a spill at the ethanol plant. She said she wasn’t sure, but she didn’t think the hospital was notified of the spill at the roundabout south of town, and they need to be on that list. Marvin Grimes said that EMS was on the scene. Margo said you may have someone who stops and gets exposed and then walks in to the hospital. It’s a good practice for the hospital to be prepared with their hazmat items for anything that may occur. Robert Robbins said if EMS is onsite, they should alert the hospital. The only problem notifying the hospital might be when they are busy with patient care onsite. The number to notify is 448-3131 or 800. Margo said messages should not be left with an ER physician. The caller should talk directly to a nurse. Glenn Mudd showed Beachner Grain’s Crisis Response Card that they received from their hazmat training. The card provides information on what to do and a list of emergency contacts.


Michelle Miller was not available to provide an update on the Rainbow bridge construction project.


Marvin Grimes reported that the shelters for most towns in the county will be the fire stations, since most of the stations have generators. Colony and Greeley stations are under all generated power. Red Cross is in charge of sheltering through the county’s emergency operations plan. There is not a designated list. Garnett is different because they don’t have anything on generated power and the closest location would be the VFW if they can get power there quicker.         Kristie Kinney stated that we had discussed using the old church furniture factory building for the shelter at Garnett, and John Alford agreed. John said if we can get power there, we can put a lot of people in there. The floors are heated, so the building stays warm for a long time after the power goes out. Margo Williams said she had originally questioned this because the hospital gets a lot of phone calls during these outages and we need to have designated shelters, so we can tell people where to go when they need to shelter somewhere. We need to look at what we can provide if Red Cross is not able to get here for a day or two, and how we will handle everyone. We need to have a plan on where to go and how to do it, rather than trying to decide at the last minute what everyone has, and where to send people. John Alford asked whether we have enough cots to cover a large number of people who might show up for sheltering. Marvin Grimes said we have to call in the request for supplies. Jackie Miller said the length of time to get supplies, depends upon why you called in the request. If there was an ice storm, it will take longer to get supplies in. Marvin and J.D. said the county has 10 to 15 cots here. Marvin reported that they are trying to get trailers set up through the State to cover supplies for 50 people, but he’s not sure whether we will get one or not. He said in past disasters, a lot of our residents stayed at home and some would come in for showers. The local Red Cross handles food as well.


Margo Williams reported that she needs to do a Hazard Vulnerability Assessment and she is going to send out an email because she will need some help.


J.D. Mersman stated that before the next LEPC meeting, he will try to get the county’s emergency operations plan out to all committee members. Members can try to look through the plan and we can go over it at the next LEPC meeting. There is a lot of information in the plan and it will answer questions on who does what, when, and why.



Marvin Grimes reported that J.D. Mersman got a grant to staff and train a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) team. The grant will buy equipment for 25 members. Teams are trained in CERT and NIMS, to help communities during disasters. Jackie Miller explained that CERT is a group of community volunteers. It teaches people to take care of themselves first, to reduce the burden on government. Some of the CERT training consists of the use of a fire extinguisher for fire suppression, how to turn the gas off at the meter at your home, rescue, such as how to use a board as a lever to lift something off someone, and other basic response training. Teams can then go out to help neighborhoods. CERT teams have been used in Greenburg, KS, southeast Kansas and at Redding, KS. The teams are very valuable in a disaster.


Jackie Miller recommended that applicants for the CERT team go through the county enrollment process by application, without the background checks, and then choose the volunteers. The team would fall under the county for workers comp coverage. Marvin Grimes stated that he would like the LEPC members to participate in the CERT meetings. Margo Williams suggested that we have press releases to the newspapers, with recommendations from the LEPC, on how to prepare for cold weather alerts and the weather. Recommendations should include reminding everyone to call their providers to have their oxygen tanks filled and other items they need in order to be able to stay in their home for awhile after a storm. Marvin Grimes said that Michelle Miller is the county’s Public Information Officer and they will make sure she is at the next meeting to discuss the first press release.



Marvin Grimes reported that Cornstock is next weekend and safety city, the pink fire truck, and storm chaser Reed Timmer will be here.


Kristie Kinney reported on the Garnett 150 birthday celebration. On Friday, October 7th, the city will serve free hamburgers and hot dogs at the fire station. Saturday will have a full day of activities and entertainment for all ages. Breakfast will be served at the VFW and the festivities on the square will begin at 10:00 a.m. and last until dark, when fireworks will be shot on the square.  


Pat Tate reported that after Cornstock, Trade Winds will have a beer garden the width of the building running into the street. He said most of law enforcements activities will probably be in the downtown area after Cornstock. He said there will be extra troopers in town and they have been made aware of this. There will be zero tolerance enforcement.

Pat Tate reported that the Garnett 150 will also include a parade and anyone interested in entering a float in the parade was urged to contact City Hall.


Don Blome reported that the construction of the new school is progressing well. The road on Home Run Drive to the North Lake was cut in yesterday. The curb will be put in next week and then asphalt the first or second week in October. The gym should be up the first week in October and the high wind area after that.


Glenn Mudd reported that Beachner Grain has a new anhydrous emergency shut off to stop the flow from the big tanks. Firefighters will be trained on the location of the emergency shut off pulley cable. There is also a hazmat kit at their location.


Margo Williams reported that Lindsey Westberg, MD is a new physician at the hospital. On October 4, 2011, the hospital will have their annual family health fair from 4:00 p.m. to         7:00 p.m. on the hospital lawn, and they will be giving flu shots. They will be having hazmat training and she will send out information on the training to everyone, in case anyone is interested in that training.


Brianna Hiles reported that there have been some public concerns about getting flu shots now rather than October or later. While the shots are available, it is better to get them now and they will last through the season. On October 6, 2011, the health department is giving flu shots to the city and county employees.


Oscar West reported that the ethanol plant had an unannounced spill exercise, when EPA came in late August and told them that they had a 2,000 gallon ethanol spill scenario. They passed for another three (3) years.


The next meeting will be October 27, 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

Robert Robbins, seconded by Bob Palmer to adjourn. Motion passed.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kristina L. Kinney, Secretary