A Local Emergency Planning Coalition (LEPC) is a product of federal legislation that was passed in the wake of the Bhopal disaster in India, where thousands of people died because of an accident involving hazardous materials. To prevent similar occurrence in our communities, in 1986 Congress passed a law, commonly known as SARA Title III that establishes requirements for businesses and for federal, state and local governments regarding emergency planning and community right to know.
LEPC’s are links between citizens, industry and the government. Because LEPC’s are most familiar with the hazards in their own community, and because local citizens tend to be the first responders in an emergency, LEPC’s are in the best position to assist local governments in developing emergency plans.
In 2003, Accomack County’s LEPC joined with Northampton County’s LEPC to form the Eastern Shore Disaster Preparedness Coalition (ESDPC). The role of the ESDPC is to form a partnership with local governments and industries as a resource for enhancing all hazards preparedness, instead of just hazardous materials incidents. Membership comes from the Eastern Shore, representing various organizations, agencies, departments, facilities and other groups that have a role in an emergency response – private, state, local government, volunteer, etc.
The ESDPC is also the Citizen Corps Council (CCC) for both counties on the Eastern Shore. The Eastern Shore CCC oversees the Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) programs. Both of these programs are voluntary (and free) programs designed to teach citizens how to prepare themselves for disasters as well as give an outlet for members to assist the counties in their emergency preparedness outreach programs.
The mission of the Eastern Shore Disaster Preparedness Coalition (ESDPC) is to prepare the Eastern Shore of Virginia for all types of disasters and to promote regional planning and coordination. The Coalition is a broad ranging organization that meets on a quarterly basis. The Coalition is open to any organization or person who has a role in Emergency/Disaster Preparedness, Planning, Response, and/or Mitigation on the Eastern Shore. Members range from Northampton and Accomack County emergency service organizations, health departments and schools to church based disaster relief groups, mayors and volunteer amateur radio operators. All play a vital role in recovery efforts on the Eastern Shore after a major disaster strikes.
The Coalition prepares for disasters in many ways. Examples include:
- Promote and disseminate public education materials to citizens and visitors to the Eastern Shore.
- Promote citizen involvement in disaster preparedness
- Provide a communication forum among a wide spectrum of organizations involved in disaster management.
- Organize and participate in local, regional, and statewide drills and exercises that focus on various aspects of disaster management.
- Provide a forum for regionalization of personnel and resources
- Sponsor and promote FEMA-required disaster management classes for all people involved with disaster response and management
For information on joining the Coalition, please contact a Coalition Executive Committee member.
|Coalition Executive Committee Members|
Accomack County Emergency Management
Chincoteague Emergency Management
Northampton County Emergency Management
Eastern Shore Health Department
Eastern Shore Rural Health
Wessells, Lt. Todd
Accomack County Sheriffs Office