The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Emergency Management Task Force started as the Harrisonburg Rockingham Multi-Casualty/Terrorism Task Force out of planning that occurred after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The plan was initially designed to bring together key community partners in dealing with large-scale disasters that impact the community.
Since its inception, the Task Force has expanded its mission to become an all-hazards community planning group for the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. The Task Force took over the role of the Local Emergency Planning Committee in 2012 for both Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg. Membership for the Task Force includes:
- Business and Industry Organizations
- Emergency Response Agencies (Fire, Medical, Emergency Communications, and Law Enforcement)
- Community Organizations
- Healthcare Organizations
- State and Federal Agencies
- Educational Institutions (primary, secondary, universities)
- Local Government Officials
The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is a federally mandated committee. The mission of the LEPC is to plan for emergencies involving hazardous materials effectively. The LEPC is tasked with the responsibility for SARA Title III Environmental Compliance; HAZMAT training and exercises; Site-Specific Chemical Planning Program; and coordination of chemical information to emergency responders. The LEPC meets quarterly, and the public is invited to attend.
The primary responsibility of the LEPC is to receive information about hazardous substances from the industry and to use this information to develop comprehensive site emergency plans to handle emergencies. It is also responsible for establishing procedures and programs that make it easy for citizens to understand and access the information that the industry submits.
The LEPC can assist you in obtaining chemical-related information from industry in your neighborhood. Federal law requires LEPCs to establish procedures for receiving and processing requests from the public for information. The Harrisonburg Office of Emergency Management has been designated as the official agency to serve as coordinator of this information.
Industry must provide three types of information to the LEPC, including:
- In case of an accidental release of certain chemicals, the industry must immediately notify appropriate federal, state, and local agencies, including the LEPC. Once submitted, release information is maintained on file with the LEPC.
- If business stores, uses, or manufactures one of approximately 360 chemicals that the U.S. EPA considers extremely hazardous, they must report to the LEPC the amount, general location, and hazards caused by that chemical's use or storage.
- Annually, the industry must submit to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and the U.S. EPA a Toxic Release Inventory, which reports on the amounts of toxic chemicals they routinely emit into the air, water, or ship off-site for treatment or disposal.
Paul Helmuth, Chair
101 N. Main St.
Harrisonburg, VA 22802