Local Emergency Management Constantly Evaluates Response Plans

Published 04/25 2014 06:52PM

Updated 04/25 2014 10:30PM

By Monica Yantosh

LUBBOCK, TX -- Lubbock County Emergency Management is using the recent report about the West Fertilizer plant explosion to see what can be done locally to make responses as effective as possible.

"We want to be, be able to respond as effectively as we can, and as safely as we can to enhance that response capability to protect the citizens around a facility like that," Clinton Thetford said.
Thetford is the Emergency Management Coordinator for Lubbock County.

"What were the lessons learned on that particular incident, and then how we may can apply those to any emergency response that we have to within Lubbock County," Thetford said.

He said this recent report on West is giving them a chance to look at cause and effect, as well as what was learned in West, and see what could be applied or used locally.

Thetford said any place with hazardous materials does submit a report to the county annually, and that report lists how much and what kind of materials are on-site. Then, Thetford said they will identify the high risk places and work with them on responses.

"Coordinate with those facilities and their personnel, again to design response plans, maybe do training together, also another key thing is develop evacuation zones around those facilities, safe distances, and prepare the community," Thetford said about facilities they know have hazardous materials.

Thetford also encourages people to know if they live near hazardous material, and if they need to find out, they can file a Public Information Request at the county.

"We try to continually train and continually learn new and updated stuff," Wolfforth Fire Department Deputy Chief Lance Hamilton said.

He's also a part of the hazardous materials team that responds to 17 counties in the region.

"Most of the responses we've had have had to do with transit vehicles," he said, though adding because of the agricultural businesses in the region, there are areas with hazardous chemicals.

"Haz-Mat moves real slow in other words we do a lot of pre-planning and because we want to know what chemical we're dealing with, how we're gonna deal with it we basically, we get a plan together, and then we make a move," he said.

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