The Northern Kentucky Emergency Planning Committee (NKEPC) is a federally mandated entity comprised of state and local officials, business representatives and members of the press.
In 1986 Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), also known as the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA Title III), in the wake of the Bhopal disaster in India, where more than 2,000 people died because of an accident involving accidental release of a hazardous chemical to prevent similar occurrences in our own communities. The NKEPC was created from that federal legislation.
EPCRA helps to increase public knowledge and access to information on chemicals at individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment. Local Emergency Planning Committees are volunteer organizations that consist of emergency responders, industry, government, education, media, and community groups. Their main functions are to provide for joint emergency planning, training, and public outreach. As a result, communities, working with industry, are better able to protect public health and the environment.
In Kentucky, there are 117 LEPC’s, each county has an individual Local Emergency Planning Committee, apart from Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Pendleton Counties which created the NKEPC. The NKEPC is the only emergency planning group to serve a multi-county area. The Northern Kentucky Emergency Planning Committee is administered through the Boone County Emergency Management Agency.
The role of the NKEPC is to form a partnership with local governments and industries as a resource for enhancing hazardous materials preparedness. Local governments are responsible for the integration of hazmat planning and response within their jurisdiction.
- ensuring the local hazard analysis adequately addresses hazmat incidents
- incorporating planning for hazmat incidents into the local emergency management plan and annexes
- assessing capabilities and developing hazmat response capability using local resources, mutual aid and contractors
- training responders
- exercising the plan.
Funding of the NKEPC operating budget comes from contributions provided by those who use, store, and manufacture chemicals in our counties. This budget goes towards providing educational public outreach regarding personal emergency preparedness, especially as it relates to chemical accidents. In addition, portions of the funding goes towards providing training opportunities for responders and joint (government/industry) planning and exercise events.
NKEPC members come from local emergency responders, industry, government, education, media, and community groups. The group’s main function is to provide joint emergency planning, training, and public outreach.
Kathy Stephens GISP, a GIS Specialist/Emergency Planner at PDS/LINK-GIS was appointed a member of the Northern Kentucky Emergency Planning Committee (NKEPC) during the group’s January 2016 meeting.
In making the appointment, Rodney Bell, Safety Manager for Sanitation District No.1, stated, “It’s great to have a PDS representative on board. It will provide additional capability and credibility for our four-county region.”
Stephens believes that PDS can be of great support to the organization and its goals. LINK-GIS and the mapping services it provides to Kenton, Campbell and Pendleton Counties is an invaluable resource to those who must respond when emergencies strike the community.