What is the history of the LEPC in your community?
The Fairfax County Joint Local Emergency Planning Committee (FJLEPC) was organized in 1987 pursuant to passage of SARA Title III, Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act by the 99th Congress in 1986. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to establish Fairfax County a State Hazardous Materials Planning District at a meeting on June 26, 1987 and invited Fairfax City and the Towns of Herndon & Vienna to join. The Fairfax Joint Local Emergency Planning Committee was established at the August 3, 1987 meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor, and appointed Ms. Frances Keiffer as its first Chair.
Who is a part of the committee?
Five broad categories of membership on LEPCs were identified by the State Emergency Response Council. One of the categories included a range of interests covering law enforcement, civil defense, firefighting, first aid, health, local environment, hospital, and transportation. This means that at least two LEPC members is needed for each of the five categories, meaning that not all of the above interests needed to be represented (two out of the eight are sufficient). The following organizations are member organizations of the FJLEPC:
• American Red Cross
• Center for Advanced Defense Studies
• City of Fairfax Office of Emergency Management
• City of Fairfax Police
• Colonial Pipeline
• Environmental Quality Advisory Council
• Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
• Fairfax County Fire & Rescue
• Fairfax County Health Department
• Fairfax County Department of Emergency Management and Security
• Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
• Fairfax County Police
• Fairfax County Public Schools
• Fairfax/Falls Church Community Service Board
• Fort Belvoir
• George Mason University
• INOVA Health Systems – Fairfax Hospital
• League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area
• Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Association
• Office of the Sheriff
• Science Applications International Corporation
• SICPA Securink, Inc.
• Town of Herndon Police
• Town of Vienna Police
• United States Geological Survey
• Upper Occoquan Service Authority
• Virginia Department of Transportation
• Virginia State Police
• Washington Gas
Legally, what are the responsibilities of the LEPC?
The FJLEPC is responsible for collecting Tier II Chemical Inventory information on an annual basis. Each year the FJLEPC must announce that it has this information available for inspection by the public. The FJLEPC must develop a written Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Plan for the Tier II facilities in its jurisdiction that use, store, or manufacture Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) in excess of the Threshold Planning Quantities (TPQ) as designated by the EPA’s “List of Lists”. The FJLEPC is also responsible for exercising this plan annually. It must be a formal exercise (drill) every other year and can be a tabletop exercise every other year.
Has the LEPC written and implemented a Hazardous Materials response plan?
If so, when was it written?
The first plan was written in 1988, and is revised annually.
Who was involved in the writing of it?
Members of the FJLEPC, Fire and Rescue Department, Health Department and Police Departments. It is maintained and revised annually by staff assigned to the Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s office, and they receive input from other stakeholder planning agencies such as Police, Sheriff, and Fairfax City/Fairfax County Offices of Emergency Management. The revisions are reviewed by a subcommittee of the FJLEPC, and the plan is then revised/adopted.
Where is the plan kept?
The plan is kept by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Fire Marshal’s Office.
Can I get a copy?
Yes, however, you must demonstrate a need to know by requesting information regarding a specific area where you work or live, must provide proof of residence or employment in that area, must appear in person at the Fire Marshal’s Office, and provide a copy of your driver’s license prior to being able to review the information. Several of our facilities are government facilities or that have requested SSI certificates due to the sensitive nature of their business. These procedures were implemented post 9/11 in an effort to ensure that the persons requesting this information have a legitimate right to know and that the information is not being requested for other use.
What is included in the plan?
Section 1 explains the scope of the plan, where its authority comes from, an outline of what is included, and how the plan is coordinated with other emergency plans.
Section 2 Describes planning factors, such as planning districts, major transportation routes, environmental concerns, critical response time variables, and locations of concern.
Section 3 Describes local response framework and its integration into state and federal response.
Section 4 describes how the Emergency Response Plan is implemented in the event of a release.
Section 5 describes the methodology used performing the risk Analysis Various appendices are included to include the List of Lists, a list of CHFs in the planning district, a glossary of terms, a list of acronyms, and a list of the equipment carried by our HMRT.
The FJLEPC/Fairfax County FRD maintains an online system for each Tier II facility that is readily accessible on scene by units that respond to a hazmat incident at one of the facilities. Each Critical Hazard Facility (those with EHSs over the TPQ) and each Bulk Petroleum Facility (see Virginia Code § 44-146.40. Virginia Emergency Response Council created; membership; responsibilities; immunity for local councils, Section G) has an emergency response plan in the Tier II System. Each ERP has an inventory of EHSs at the facility and the quantities involved, a description of the business use of EHSs, designated primary and secondary vulnerable zone, the municipality affected, population affected, environmentally sensitive areas, routes of transportation of EHSs to/from the facility, evacuation routes from the facility, number of employees, on-site equipment (hazmat, decon, firefighting, medical, radios, etc.) that would aid response personnel, reference numbers for local media, Federal reporting agencies, and notations of any other jurisdictions that could be affected by release. Site maps, facility plans and other pertinent documents are also scanned and made part of a facility’s ERP if it is available. Our County OEM maintains the special needs registry.
When was the plan last exercised?
A formal full exercise was held on October 7, 2010 at one of our CHFs. A tabletop exercise was held on November 2, 2011 with our HMRT.
Does your community have a hazmat team? How is it organized?
Fairfax County has a designated Hazardous Materials Response Team (HMRT). It consists of a Primary Station (Station 440—Fairfax Center) that is staffed with an Engine, Hazmat Support Unit, Hazmat Unit (Squad), Medic Unit. There are also four satellite hazmat squads positioned throughout the County: Station 411 (Penn Daw), Station 419 (Lorton), Station 426 (Edsal Road) and Station 439 (North Point). The HMRT reports to the Battalion Chief of the HMRT, which is part of the Operations Division of the Fire and Rescue Department. These units are staffed by full-time paid career personnel.
Does your community have a public emergency education program?
Yes. The FJLEPC has several handouts regarding hazardous materials releases and how to respond, disposal of household hazardous waste, and preparing for chemical emergencies. It also has a video that was produced by Fairfax County Government Channel 16 regarding emergencies and procedures for Sheltering in Place. This video is available through the FJLEPC’s website and through the County website for on-demand viewing. FJLEPC representatives also attend various homeowners associations and give presentations on emergency preparedness and sheltering in place.
What are your community’s emergency information procedures?
All emergency information is funneled through our County Public Information Office, Fairfax City Public Information Office, and through the Fairfax County/Fairfax City Offices of Emergency Management. Tools such as reverse 9-1-1, media releases, radio/tv announcements, and even door to door notifications are used during emergencies.
What is the relationship between the SERC and your LEPC?
The FJLEPC is very active and maintains contact with the Virginia SERC. The State SERC is integral in answering any questions regarding LEPC responsibility and Tier II reporting.