GLASGOW – Bylaws revisions are underway for the Barren County Local Emergency Planning Committee.
A proposed draft drawn up by the chair, Candice Baker, had been circulated among the members earlier in the day prior to its meeting Wednesday at the Barren County Extension Service. Baker said she had already received some feedback but asked all the members to review it and get back with her with any suggestions so a final version can be approved at the November meeting. The LEPC normally only meets quarterly.
The last time they had been updated was 2004, she said.
After the meeting, Baker said the new version has been restructured, using a neighboring county's as a model. For example, a new paragraph would say the chief of the fire department with jurisdiction over a facility to make on-site inspections of facilities that may have substances onsite subject to certain federal guidelines and report the findings to the LEPC chair.
She had already made a few changes based on the recommendations of Tracy Shirley, the director of the Glasgow-Barren County Emergency Management. For example, the original draft had that if a member misses three consecutive meetings, the position will be declared vacant and a replacement sought. Baker said Shirley recommended making it four consecutive meetings instead.
Most of the other suggestions were minor housekeeping tweaks, she said.
The new bylaws must be submitted to the Kentucky Emergency Response Commission by Dec. 1.
Baker also announced that Western Kentucky University-Glasgow is hosting a training for “Tier II managers” from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Oct. 11, and she had signed up. She highly recommended others who are responsible for completing Tier II reports regarding their facilities' hazardous materials to take the training, because there are some reporting requirement changes coming, and while there are several trainings in the area, this would be the only one in Barren County. She intended to send the registration link out to those connected to the LEPC/ESF for whom she had contact information.
The LEPC meeting immediately followed the one for emergency management Emergency Support Functions. They routinely meet one after the other because they have overlapping membership.
Emergency Support Functions are aspects of response to major incidents: transportation; communications; public works; firefighting; emergency management; mass care, housing and human services; resource support; public health and medical services; search and rescue; hazardous materials; agriculture; energy and utilities; law enforcement and security; long-term recovery and mitigation; and public information. Each function has a numerical assignment.
Shirley said the only item of business for the ESF is that an additional person would have an ESF 15 – public information – role besides the two individuals who currently serve and who have that duty on a daily basis for the two respective law enforcement agencies that employ them: Lt. Terry Flatt, public information officer for the Glasgow Police Department, and Mike Houchens, public information deputy for the Barren County Sheriff's Office.
“We're not replacing anyone; we're just giving them more help ...,” Shirley said.
He said that one issue that could arise with having law enforcement PIOs in that role is that if the incident is significant enough that the emergency operations center is activated, “they're going to be out there doing law enforcement stuff. They're not going to be able to be in here doing this, so, to me, it was always a good idea to try to have someone brought in who was not otherwise out there doing emergency service stuff with the public.”
He introduced Jamie Cummings, who is currently contracted with the county until January to do some information technology work – developing computer programming for the county's website and serving as social media and information officer, and said the ESF 15 role would be one of the multiple hats she'll be wearing for the county soon.
Shirley had mentioned to the Glasgow Daily Times on Tuesday that Cummings had attended a PIO training with him already.
Following the meeting, Judge-Executive Micheal Hale confirmed that Cummings is the person who will have combined duties discussed at Tuesday's fiscal court meeting, when the court approved job descriptions for a public information officer for the county and a code enforcement associate. Shirley said she will also be an emergency management deputy director.
The next ESF/LEPC meeting is at 11 a.m. Nov. 6 at the extension service auditorium.