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LEPC Adopts Civil Unrest Clause

At a meeting of the Roosevelt County Local Emergency Planning Committee Tuesday, Feb. 6, the group adopted a civil unrest clause, contemplated supporting a state Disaster Emergency Services grant and planned for upcoming events.
The meeting, led by DES coordinator and LEPC secretary Lindsay McNabb and LEPC chairperson Lee Allmer, was held in Poplar at the school district conference room.
A civil unrest annex to the currently LEPC emergency operations plan was adopted. The policy, provided by state DES, lays out a plan for what to do in the event of a civil unrest situation. The policy itself states that is purpose is “to establish procedures necessary to reduce, or minimize, the loss of property and threat to persons in areas of civil unrest and to assist in the restoration of order and return to normal activity after such disturbances.”
Civil Unrest, as described in the annex, is like terrorism in that it is a hazard which, while the frequency of occurrence can seldom be predicted, necessitates considerable planning on the part of the agencies responsible for addressing it.
Recent examples of civil unrest, which is generally defined by riots and violence, would include events similar to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and protests of police shootings across the United States.
With the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline near the Fort Peck Reservation as a possibility in the future, the LEPC adopted the annex as laid out by state DES.
The Roosevelt County LEPC was approached by the regional hazmat response teams who sought support for an upcoming State Homeland Security grant. The letter, written directly to the local LEPC, said that they would like to utilize the grant to replace and upgrade “an integral piece of equipment, our FTIR [Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy] Hazmat Smith ID.”
The hazmat team stated that their current instrument has served them well for 12 years. However, they are no having issues with reliability and the manufacturer no longer supports that specific device. The letter states that the tool is used when responding to jurisdictions throughout the state for calls involving suspicious white powders, unknown liquids, orphaned drums and “countless other incidents.” The FTIR tech uses an infrared light to scan a chemical’s structure.
“This allows for the safe identification of unknowns by only requiring a small sample,” states the letter.
The letter also states “your support on this grant in no way impacts your local jurisdiction’s priorities with any grants that you may be applying for.”
This is contradictory to what the Roosevelt County LEPC has heard in the past.
“While I’m totally in support of putting money into our hazmat team, it could hinder our grant,” said Allmer.
However, the local LEPC wants to support the hazmat team. The group asked McNabb to inquire with the state DES to see if supporting the hazmat team in their grant would in any way impact the LEPC and their own grant applications. A motion to write a letter in support of the hazmat team was approved pending McNabb’s findings.
It was brought to the attention of the LEPC that Northeast Montana Health Services is interested in undergoing Incident Command System training. ICS training would prepare all employees, in particular those that interact with the public, for what to do during an emergency.
This could solve potential problems such as “does a secretary know what to do if a bomb threat is called in.”
The LEPC was asked if they had any interest in hosting the event. No decision was made at this time, but McNabb will look into potential resources for hosting an ICS training.
The next meeting of the Roosevelt County LEPC will be held in Culbertson March 13.