LEPC holds annual safety meeting

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The Madison County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) held an annual meeting last week at the Madisonville Fire Department. The meeting featured many of the county’s safety officials as well as representatives from the state and covered an array of potential problems in the community.

“I want to thank everyone for coming,” said Madison County Judge C.E. “Butch” McDaniel before the session commenced. “Hopefully we all learn something today and I’m sure we will.”

The room featured vast professional diversity. Local medical, education and church officials were represented along with emergency responders, oil safety workers and other experts. Each entity described what they believed to be their biggest potential threat in a worst-case scenario situation.

Most representatives in attendance described a fire at their location as the worst possible scenario. For the oil workers, the scariest threat would be some sort of explosion on one of their sites. It was also pointed out that the medical officials should always bear in mind the possibility of a disease outbreak. The purpose of the meeting and this particular portion was to share as much information with each other as possible while being prepared for every possible hazardous situation that could harm the county.

The committee also held elections for officer and committee chairs. The new assistant auditor replaced Amie Scott in the Right to Know Committee. Tony Clay replaced David Douglas and Marybeth Murphy took over for Reed Edmundson in the Hazardous Materials Committee. Murphy and Clay also replaced Edmundson and Douglas in the Emergency Response and Recovery Committee and Thomas Collard replaced Philip Grisham.

The first guest speaker was the Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Coordinator from MD America Energy LLC Heath James. An HSE Coordinator is the primary contact for employees and supervisors concerning safety-related matters. James is the first HSE coordinator the company has ever had and was hired three years ago.

“We’re trying to change the culture within the American Energy,” James said. “We want to make sure everyone is trained and knows what to do in case of an emergency.”

James described his quest to provide his employees with a safe atmosphere in all facets of work and strives to constantly educate those around him. He introduced 24-hour communication line with a live, bilingual operator. The hotline is 844-RESPOND.

“Our goal is to have a response action or activity for our people as well as the community,” said James. “This was we can act quickly and meet the necessary needs of those around us.”

The committee also took a moment to discuss the possibility of a cyberattack and what that could mean for each respective department. Committee members urged one another that there is no good preparation for this sort of attack outside of the basics. They touched on the importance of avoiding situations like this by always being mindful of the links they clock on and to stay on familiar sites.

A flyer was presented at the end of the meeting for a safety program through the FBI that would partner with an individual or organization to help prepare them for a possible disaster in any field. The highest professionals would expose a program participant to the best possible emergency preparedness regimen.

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