The Norfolk Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is the overarching group of emergency managers from various sectors and levels of government. The intent of this committee is not only to build critical relationships but to facilitate cross-sector collaboration and information sharing. The group discusses capabilities, concerns, and realistic expectations, shares planning initiatives, and otherwise synergizes training and exercise opportunities.
To further refine and focus efforts, members of the LEPC also meet periodically based on their Emergency Support Function (ESF). ESFs are mechanisms for grouping functions most frequently used in support of responding to natural and man-made incidents.
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)
As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) was passed in 1986 in response to concerns regarding the environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals. These concerns were triggered by the 1984 disaster in Bhopal, India, caused by an accidental release of methylisocyanate. The release killed or severely injured more than 2000 people.
To reduce the likelihood of such a disaster in the United States, Congress imposed requirements for federal, state, and local governments, tribes, and industries. These requirements covered emergency planning and "Community Right-to-Know" reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. The Community Right-to-Know provisions help increase the public’s knowledge and access to information on chemicals at individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment. States and communities, working with facilities, can use the information to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.