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Following are the nine TRANSCAER® steps -- the nuts and bolts of TRANSCAER®. These "steps" explain how TRANSCAER® representatives can work with communities to help them prepare for hazmat emergencies. Please note that these 'steps' do not need to be followed in order. Rather, they are a listing of possible activities TRANSCAER® members may implement.
- Establish Contact with the LEPC
Most communities have official Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) as mandated by federal law as part of Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986. In some states, one committee covers a large planning area while in other states each municipality has its own LEPC. In some areas where an LEPC is not active, a different community contact (e.g. fire chief, police chief, etc.), provides the services of an LEPC (emergency planning, etc.). Contact the LEPC or community member in your subject area and identify yourself and your willingness to become involved in their committee (if LEPC) or emergency planning process (if other). This communication is the beginning of open and ongoing dialogue between you, the organization you represent, and the LEPC.
- Review Existing Emergency Response Plans
SARA required the LEPC's to develop emergency response plans to handle hazardous materials emergencies. These plans were to be developed and in place by October 17, 1988. The plan, if one exists, should be reviewed to insure it includes procedures for handling transportation emergencies. If it does, the community still may need help in training emergency responders and in conducting an exercise to determine if the plan really meets their needs.
- Assist the LEPC to Establish a Transportation Advisory Group
The LEPC may have a broad enough membership to provide the necessary expertise to form a transportation advisory group to review and update the plan to include transportation emergencies. If not, representatives from the following organizations should be considered when forming the group.
- Trucking Industry
- Rail Industry
- Chemical Industry
- Petroleum Industry
- Local Utility Companies
- US Coast Guard
- State Motor Carrier Enforcement Organizations
- Local Public Works Department
- Regional Planning Councils
- Distributor Industry
- Barge Industry
- Assist the LEPC to Implement a Transportation Flow Study
The LEPC should be advised of the potential benefits of conducting flow studies and in obtaining past accident history data. Information on how to conduct a flow study is included in the TRANSCAER® Manual. Some communities may decide this step is beyond their means or unnecessary (i.e. in areas within a heavy chemical corridor that needs to be prepared to handle a very wide range of materials or a rural community that has very limited hazardous materials movement). The value of flow studies should be pointed out and assistance offered. However, if the community decides not to conduct a flow study, this step need not be included in your TRANSCAER® project.
- Assist in Revising the Response Plan
After the flow study data and accident history information has been gathered, the next step is to revise the emergency response plan to incorporate transportation emergencies. Plans must be tailored to the community. Some communities may decide to use a for-hire contractor, or a hazardous materials team in another community to handle hazardous materials incidents in their jurisdiction. The plan must be specific about who is going to do what, when, where and how.
- Review Emergency Response Resource and Training Needs
A community will have emergency response needs in areas beyond transportation emergencies. Equipment and hazardous materials training programs for fire fighters and EMS technicians already acquired for fires, traffic accidents and natural disasters may also be useful transportation emergencies; the reverse is also true. The transportation advisory group should look for opportunities to share specialized or scarce equipment with neighboring communities thorough mutual aid agreements.
The advisory group must make a list of what the community has and what it needs. The TRANSCAER® Guidance Manual contains guidelines for developing an equipment list. If the community plan is to handle hazardous materials incidents with local emergency responders, it's essential that they are properly equipped and trained. A responsibly of the TRANSCAER® sponsor is to assist in identifying training needs and resources for remedial training.
- Participation in Annual Exercises
Testing is a critical part of all planning programs. Exercises should be designed to fully test the plan. The TRANSCAER® sponsor is expected to assist in securing equipment, and providing specialized response personnel for the simulated emergencies as well as in the review of the exercise.
- Establish an Ongoing Dialogue with Local Officials, Response Agencies and the Public
A community dialogue is often hard to establish but, a factual discussion with the critics and the public is necessary. Participate in community activities, civic events, and education programs. Frankly discuss the risks and challenges of chemical transportation.
- Assess the Effectiveness of the Overall Program
A periodic review of local transportation incidents and exercises will confirm those areas that are working as well as those that need more attention.
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