Safety comes first for emergency planning committee
by Bianca Galvan
Aug 11, 2014 | 1498 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Coastal Plan Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) Corporation hosted their Thursday, July 17, meeting at the San Patricio County Civic Center in Sinton. Though Chairman Bob Blaschke was unavailable, Vice-chairman Rick McLester, Sr. made everyone feel welcome by breaking the ice with introductions from around the room.

After a few agenda items, such as approving past minutes and the financial report, the meeting proceeded with Standing Subcommittee Reports. Stefani Steel and Carmen Ellis, of the Corpus Christi Medical Center in Portland, discussed new DOT and non-DOT drug and alcohol screenings for occupational incidents, as well as a phone application, known as ERG 2012, which is a safety program, available on the android and Apple markets, designed by the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) as an Emergency Response Guidebook that provides first responders with a go-to resource to help deal with hazmat accidents during the critical first 30 minutes.

This free ERG application contains an indexed list of dangerous goods and the associated ID number, the general hazards they pose and recommended safety precautions.

For example, if emergency responders arrive at the scene of an overturned tractor trailer displaying a DOT hazmat placard, they would use the guide to identify the material associated with the placard and get guidance on how to respond accordingly.

Sheriff Leroy Moody made his presence known as he brought awareness and information that Ingleside, Aransas Pass, Gregory and Portland are getting ready to grow significantly. Moody mentioned how there are plans to bring in more rails and expand the railroad system from Odem to Gregory in order to provide easier and faster resources for companies, such as Cheniere, to move products and supplies.

The Resource and Funding subcommittee report was short and sweet as Commissioner Fred Nardini summed it up. “We’ve got money; we’re in good shape right now,” Nardini said. William “Ski” Zagorski Sr., LEPC’s secretary/treasurer, reminded everyone that the LEPC Region 6 workshop was coming up and that it planned on focusing on rural communities.

The special topic of the meeting included a presentation by Leonard Stroman, Director of Operations for Southcross Energy. The presentation gave an overall review of how Southcross operates and their process by which they operate in the event of an incident or emergency.

“Our first and foremost priority at Southcross is the public and their safety,” Stroman said. Stroman shared that, beginning Aug. 1, Southcross will be merging with TexStar, which will give them more pipelines and the ability for increased production.

Before ending the meeting, McLester expressed his regret that Portland Fire Chief Timothy Vanlandingham will be serving his last day at the Portland Fire Department on Aug. 15 as he has taken up an offer to work in the safety department with Voestelpine.

“I’m blessed because Voestelpine is a community based company with the same goals in mind as I have, so I am excited to be going to work for them,” Vanlandingham stated.

The next meeting of the Coastal Plain LEPC is scheduled for Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. at the Civic Center in Sinton.
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