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City officials laboring to obtain LEPC certification

Jan. 17, 2014 |

By G. Michael Dobbs news@thereminder.com CHICOPEE – Do you know what kinds of chemicals are being used by local industry or being manufactured in the city? Chicopee officials are working toward full certification for the city’s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). Kenneth Richott, Chicopee’s Emergency Management director, explained to Reminder Publications that as part of the certification process he is asking The LEPC group meets every second Tuesday at the Chicopee Public library on front St. for a one-hour meeting at 8 a.m. LEPC group is charged by the Massachusetts State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) to write and review an annual plan for responding to a hazardous material incident, to train emergency responders, to have an annual drill once a year and to store data for public requests. Richott explained the planning effort came out of the Reagan Administration in the 1980 in responding to incidents such as the disaster in Bhopal, India in 1984 when hundreds of people dies due to a ruptured valve at a Union-Carbide plant leaked toxic gas. Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act in 1986, which allows residents and municipal officials to know what chemicals are in their cities and towns, understand the consequences of an accidental release and prepare first responders. Chicopee has completed two levels of the certification and Richott said the city is “on target to meet the goal.” He believes the complete certification process would be finalized by July.

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