Region IV LEPC includes the Emergency Management Agencies (EMA) and response teams for all of SIMPCO’s Iowa counties. The LEPC is responsible for the designation of Department of Homeland Security Funds as awarded annually to address planning and training needs in light of the potential for transportation-related hazardous materials incidents. For the 2018 Federal fiscal year, the LEPC included a Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow Study (HMCF) and Phase II of the LEPC GIS Mapping Project among its eligible projects, both contracted for completion by SIMPCO.
A Northwest Iowa Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow study was last completed in 2007 with an update provided in 2012. Due to drastic changes in local business and economic development, the LEPC determined that the changes in commodities traveling into, out of, within and through its five-county jurisdiction significantly impact the probability of a transportation-related incident involving hazardous materials. As a result, an accurate assessment of current commodity flows was deemed necessary.
The LEPC GIS Mapping project began in FFY 2017 with the primary intent of creating an interactive app allowing access to incident maps for EMA Coordinators while in the field in the event of a hazardous material incident. The application includes information not available publicly and allows the user to determine the level of information needed, eliminating excessive information for a given incident. Phase II as completed for FFY 2018 included updates to all stored information including Tier II Facilities, Leak and Spill Incidents, and Contaminated Site data. New for Phase II are direct links to hundreds of chemical-specific response sites enabling one-click connections rather than requiring the user to conduct an independent search.
Data analysis specific to the Region enables focused training and planning efforts benefitting area response teams. The 2018 HMCF Study provides the LEPC with a summary of findings and recommendations to ensure practical application of the information provided. The incident mapping program facilitates in-time decisions using a compilation of multiple data systems providing as much information as possible to the EMA Coordinator while in the field, including detailed boundaries for evacuations, where responders may previously have been limited to screenshots sent via email. Incorporating current and relevant data into annual projects optimizes response efforts in the LEPC’s primary mission – to reduce the loss of life and damage to property in the event of a transportation-related hazardous materials incident.