The Public Safety and Regulatory Compliance Program of the Council consists of hazardous materials planning and hazardous waste monitoring.
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, gives Local Emergency Planning Committees the job of increasing chemical safety in our communities. Florida's Accident Prevention Program adds the additional duty to help prevent chemical accidents from happening in the first place. An emergency response plan for the North Central Florida Region is maintained by the Committee.
The Committee helped to get Florida's new Accident Prevention Program started by working with all stakeholders. Technical assistance was provided to many of our municipalities that use ton-containers of Chlorine and thus were required to file Risk Management Plans with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Committee sponsors "Safety Street" presentations to help explain to the public what is being done to increase chemical safety in our communities.
A second project is the regional hazmat team, based primarily on Gainesville Fire Rescue's hazmat team. Planning Council staff assisted the Committee in writing an interlocal agreement, initially for 5 counties and 3 municipalities, to allow responders from different agencies to coordinate their actions better at a chemical spill. The goal is to expand the team to the entire 11-county region once it is fully functional. These local governments are also adopting cost recovery ordinances so that the spiller, and not the local government, pays the cost of an emergency response to a chemical spill.
Grants from the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Program funds training and planning programs. Free hazardous materials emergency response training classes are held for first responders including firefighters, law enforcement, emergency medical, and public works personnel. Over 2,400 people have been trained as part of this program. Advanced Hazardous Materials Medical Technician and Radiation classes are also co-sponsored with Gainesville Fire Rescue.
Florida Statutes require that each county in the state conduct annual Small Quantity Generator (SQG) Hazardous Waste Assessment, Notification and Verification programs. Many of our counties have contracted with the Council to conduct these programs and have paid for them out of general revenues.
On-site inspections of approximately 20 percent of the businesses in a county
is conducted each year. In addition, the project includes providing
educational materials and recommendations to local businesses and government
agencies that need to improve their waste management procedures. Information
is also provided on recycling and reducing the amounts of hazardous waste generated
by using less-hazardous materials.
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