Local Emergency planning continues
The Emery County Local Emergency Planning Committee met for their January meeting at the Emery County Sheriff's office. The purpose of the LEPC is to help the county and the cities become more prepared for an emergency and aid in the emergency plan for the county, which is a work in progress and nearing its completion.
Capt. Kyle Ekker took charge of the LEPC meeting as chairman. This was the first LEPC meeting for Sheriff Greg Funk and Capt. Ekker introduced Sheriff Funk. Sheriff Funk thanked LEPC members for their support and volunteering to man this committee to help our community. The sheriff was asked if he sees Emery County as prepared? He answered that no one is ever totally prepared but we're headed in the right direction. Capt. Ekker added the sheriff's office has responded well to disasters ranging from small to the large scale Crandall Canyon. "We have a CERT program on board now, the ham radio club is working with us, and we will continue to train and exercise to enhance our preparedness," said Capt. Ekker.
In December 2010 Capt. Ekker joined Ron Mosher of the State in a visit to the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station, largest in the nation. They toured the plant as far as it was possible considering the strict security nature associated with nuclear plants. Emergency leaders told them that the best thing they could do is get on board early in the planning stages and get trained. Arizona emergency managers said that the plant was nearly built before they were involved. The station has three 1,500 watt generators and a large work force. The impact on the local small community of Buck Eye may be similar to what Green River will experience. In addition the 50 mile impact zone includes half of Phoenix, schools, dairies, even the hay stacks around the plant must be covered. There is a 10 mile plume exposure radius which requires a full exercise at least every two years. The 50 mile post flume phase impacts six counties and the reservation and requires a drill every six years.
On March 7-10 there will be a 3.5 day training in Green River at the John Wesley Powell Museum. This will cover the Federal regulations, and we need to have people trained including DWR, State Parks, Schools, Health Department, etc. Terrie Wright from the health department noted that entities often receive funds if they are part of the planning process.
If the plant proceeds it will be 8-10 years in the construction phase. The plant would be using the water from the Green River, none of the used water would go down stream. Palo Verde uses treated brown water from Phoenix.
Utah is supporting the proposed plant fully, the proposed location is northwest of Green River on SITLA ground. Discussion continued about impacts. The last nuclear accident was 20-25 years ago at Three Mile Island and minimal, if any, exposure. The safety record in Arizona is no offsite release. The proposal phase is continuing until the letter of intent is signed and submitted. This would end the planning phase. There is a 50 percent chance of the plant being built but if the water rights are granted there is 70-80 percent chance it will be a go.
Wright mentioned that the Health Department has a person in Bear River who could teach a basic radiation class for Emery County if needed.
training exercises include a full TIC with communications plan which will include seven counties in Eastern Utah on Feb. 15, 10 a.m.-noon. LEPC members are invited to observe. The scenario is a mock aircraft wreck. The goal is to talk directly to all counties without having to go through dispatch. Emery will take their command post to join Carbon's at the fairground. Other counties will remain on their own sites.
ICS 300 class will be taught in Castle Dale March 14-15. ICS 400 Region VI class will be taught April 18-19. Capt. Ekker will e-mail LEPC members when it is posted on U-Train next week and encouraged those interested to register early.
Amy Peters has been contracted by Southeastern Utah Association of Government to teach pre-mitigation planning class in Castle Dale 10 a.m. Feb. 23 upstairs in the County Building on Main Street. Those requested to attend are mayors, water conservancy, plant leaders and others. Bring plans for flood control and projects to the table. The Emery LEPC meeting schedule changed to the third Wednesday every other month. The next meeting is March 16.
Medical Reserve Corp-Robby Donaldson is new coordinator. He has worked as EMT, hospital preparedness and is currently reviewing records and meeting with people in hospital, emergency response. MRC conference scheduled for April 9 at Provo Marriott. Health Department will fund costs of conference for volunteers.
Jay Mark Humphrey, Water Conservancy District said there is a lot of water in snow pack, but they are not letting water out of the reservoirs yet. Could have flooding especially below Millsite and Huntington if the weather warms suddenly or rains come in late May. They are watching it closely.
Green River City: Weather Spotter Training Feb 3, at 6 p.m. for regular LEPC meeting, open to public. Kevin Alton will teach it at City Hall.
Castle Dale: Julie Johansen said they are working on the four levels of Incident Command training. The fire chief was encouraged to continue and take 300 and 400 beyond the four basic classes.
Huntington City: Jerry Livingston said their city council has approved a spot for a new fire station; after they secure the land then they'll go for CIB funds. This is at McAllister's trailer court Main Street in Huntington. The new generator for Huntington city is installed.
Schools: Jed Jensen said the school district is continuing their safety meetings. Sheriff
Funk and Capt. Ekker plan on attending.
The Utah SWAT team may put together an active shooter drill and bring it down. School lockdowns are not yet scheduled.
Ferron City: JoAnn Behling is working to make sure all council members complete their ICS training.
SEUDHD: Terrie Wright publicly thanked all who participated in the Cans For Shots. They raised more than 1,500 pounds of food between the four counties. They will continue with it. They have received the first reported Type A influenza hospitalization. The flu season apparently is still underway and vaccine is still available.
Ty Bailey is the Utah HLS community support section manager and is over the HLS liaisons. They are fully staffed now with regional liaisons. He noted that we have LEPCs because of Federal mandate in 1986. At first it was largely a hazmat focus. Each LEPC was to get together with business partners especially those with hazardous materials. Emery County has an amazing relationship with its business and civic partners.
As far as the State goes, they are getting a new EOC in the State Capitol building and will move in by the end of this year.
In 2012 the state is getting ready for Utah Shakeup multi-state earthquake exercise to include nine counties along the Wasatch Fault. Wright requested that public health and emergency response should be involved sooner. FEMA is funding and creating planning groups for the exercise. Earthquake impact to our area would likely be evacuees coming into the county and emergency assets being requested to deploy to the impact zone.
Bailey's office will be involved with the nuclear power plant.
The state is working to put together an LEPC workshop Sept. 21 to help provide better community with state and local LEPCs. They will also be inviting Federal partners from Region VIII.
CERT: Karen Smith, Region VI Citizen Corps Coordinator will be responsible to register the CERT program so that we will be eligible for funding. Currently the county has units trained in Huntington, Emery, Green River, Castle Dale and Orangeville.
Cynthia Grant contributed to this update.