The4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Seniors, Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Thursday, October 4, 2007, at 10:00 AM, at the Ashland Regional Airport in Greenup County, Kentucky. Representative Tanya Pullin, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Elizabeth Tori, Co-Chair; Representative Tanya Pullin, Co-Chair; Senators Perry B. Clark, Denise Harper Angel, Vernie McGaha, Joey Pendleton, Dick Roeding, Dan Seum, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Carolyn Belcher, Larry Belcher, Tom Burch, Bill Farmer, David Floyd, Jeff Greer, Tim Moore, Fred Nesler, Steve Riggs, Tom Riner, Carl Rollins II, Charles Siler, Ancel Smith, and John Tilley.
Guests: (Ret) Maj. Alecia Webb-Edgington, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS); Tom Arnold, Kentucky NIMS; Cindy Arflack, KOHS; Brad Learn, State CHEMPAK Coordinator; Letch Day, Director of Operations, Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services; Bryant Stiles, Sabine Gumm, and Butch McKinney, Kentucky Exercise and Evaluation Program; Charles Shaw, Mark Hammond, Ernie West, Jimmy Grizzle, Laurie Grizzle, Kelly Nelson, John Bush, Frank Melvin, Bill Clary, Dale Lucas, Bud Stevens, Boyd County Judge Executive, Russell Mayor Hopkins, Raceland Mayor McKee; Worthington, Raceland, Greenup, Flatwoods, Cannonsburg, and Catlettsburg Volunteer Fire Departments; Red Cross Directors, Hickey & Kathy Shaeffer, Bobby Carpenter, Dennis Chamber, Mike Mullins, and Police Chief Glenn Porter.
LRC Staff: Erica Warren, CSA, Mustapha Jammeh, Tyler Campbell, and Rhonda Schierer.
Co-Chair Pullin called the meeting to order. The committee adopted the minutes from the September interim committee meeting unanimously by voice vote.
Co-Chair Pullin summarized two Committee Resolutions honoring the following soldiers who lost their lives in the Global War on Terrorism: Staff Sergeant Delmar White and Private First Class Sammie Phillips. She asked the committee to observe moments of silence to honor the memories of these fallen soldiers. Both resolutions were unanimously adopted by voice vote.
Co-Chair Pullin recognized Kelly Nelson, UK Extension, Greenbo Lake State Park Resort, Ashland Alliance, Matt Walker, Worthington City Councilman; Larry Wilson, Airport Manager; and Lou Dunn, Airport Board Member; and thanked them for what they do for the community and their help in hosting the committee meeting in Worthington at the Ashland Regional Airport facility.
Co-Chair Pullin recognized (Ret) Maj. Alecia Webb-Edgington, Executive Director, Office of Homeland Security. Major Edgington ran the Office of Homeland Security's new citizen's awareness campaign commercial for members' viewing. She stated that we must be cognizant of our natural and manmade disasters.
Major Edgington gave a presentation on the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center's Access to Railway Cargo Information. She stated that the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center involves an all-crimes approach, focus on prevention, and partnership between 9 federal and state agencies. The agencies are KSP, KVE, ATF, FBI, DHS, Transportation, Corrections, Military Affairs, and their most recent partnership with CSX announced August 1, 2007.
Major Edgington noted passing CSX Railways on their way to the committee meeting in Worthington. She spoke of the importance of knowing exactly what is on the railways and how much better prevention would be if they knew exactly what was on shipments before they make their way through the Commonwealth. She discussed the NOW System which is a software solution that allows the Fusion Center to know exactly what CSX is hauling 12 hours in advance of that rail coming through Kentucky.
Major Edgington stated there were 1,700 miles of CSX track, 2,000 grade crossings (intersection of any roadway to the rail with the exception of bridges or tunnels), and 65,000 car loads of freight per year. She added that 70,000 commercial vehicles go through the Commonwealth of Kentucky each day. She emphasized that of those 70,000, 3% of those are hauling hazardous material. Major Edgington stated that CSX services 400 industries including vehicle manufacturing plants and appliance distribution facilities.
Major Edgington briefed the committee on CSX facilities in Kentucky. She stated there are major rail yards in Louisville and Russell, Kentucky; locomotive servicing facilities in Corbin and Russell, Kentucky; and 9 rail-to-truck distribution facilities, including one in Ashland. She stated the Fusion Center can track the location, content, and status of all CSX rail cars in the Commonwealth.
Representative Riggs asked about being privy to explosives, inhalants, and toxics. He asked what kind of precautions are taken with the employees at the Fusion Center such as special security clearance. Major Edgington said all individuals working at the Fusion Center do have a security clearance either with DHS or the FBI. She stated that all individuals must have a finger print supported record check through the Kentucky State Police.
Representative Riggs noted that his area works closely with their local fire departments needs and responses. He asked how the local fire departments would get information from the Fusion Center should there be a derailing or emergency and who to contact.
Major Edgington said her office is working towards the issuance of mobile data computers to law enforcement and fire departments. She stated they have created a product that goes on that mobile data computer called the KYWINS which is an encrypted texting solution that allows information to be sent directly to or from the Fusion Center. She stated that they are also working with the Kentucky Fire Commission to be sure the information is marketed and the word is out.
Senator Roeding asked if they have partnered with the trucking industry. Major Edgington said they are currently working on a project with the University of Kentucky and looking at what could be a national approach to the solution of hazardous materials in the trucking industry.
Representative Nesler asked if railroads other than CSX are providing the same type of information to the Fusion Center. Major Edgington stated that they have been in dialogue with Norfolk Southern and are looking to make additional partnerships.
Representative Nesler asked what responsibilities the companies using the rail have in providing the railroad with the content of their shipment and if there are penalties for that company that does not properly report about the information. Major Edgington stated they are required by virtue of hazardous materials requirements to know exactly what is on each shipment and they have to be placard like the trucking industry.
Co-Chair Pullin announced that Butch Bass, Greenup County Emergency Management Coordinator and David Worely, Kentucky Department of Veteran's Affairs were in attendance at the meeting and thanked them for being there. She announced that the students from Russell High School were there also and had special gifts for the members.
Co-Chair Pullin recognized Bryant Stiles, Division Director of Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program, associated with the Kentucky Fire Commission. Mr. Stiles thanked Co-Chair Pullin for the opportunity to show their exercise program to the committee and stated their goal was to allow the committee to see the exercise program in operation and help them in understanding the preparation for any disaster in the Commonwealth. He expressed appreciation for the Greenup County Firefighters that have been training and all they have done for them. He recognized the mobile fleet and the driver simulator.
Mr. Stiles provided the committee with an overview of the Kentucky Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (KyHSEEP). He discussed their concept planning materials, the exercise development process, program goals for 2007-2008, exercise objectives, and types of exercises available to local and regional planning teams, including the tabletop, functional, and full scale exercises, and described the differences. Mr. Stiles expressed the importance of a tabletop exercise and provided the committee with a mock exercise of a flood scenario including a news clip in Greenup County. He stated that one of the first things that has to happen when federal, state, and local agencies come together is finding a central location for headquarters. He stated that the Ashland Regional Airport gives the community many benefits needed, such as a large facility for housing equipment, trailers, sheltering, office area, parking area, area for aircraft to land including medical responders, security fences, water access from the river, rail access, and interstate access all within the perimeter and confines of the airport property.
Mr. Tom Arnold, Kentucky NIMS Compliance Officer, presented a brief overview of the National Incident Management System Program (NIMS) and the major accomplishments and achievements made across the Commonwealth. Brad Learn of the Kentucky Department for Public Health Preparedness Branch discussed public health issues during disaster situations. Letch Day, Director of Operation, Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services, discussed the importance of additional support for the EMS providers at the local levels. Each described the roll their group would have if there were a disaster in a local community.
Bruce Roberts, Chairman of the Kentucky Fire Commission, spoke on state fire rescue training. He stated they are attached to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Their headquarters is at the KCTCS office in Versailles and they have 14 area offices spread across the Commonwealth. He stated they deliver 20 hours of training to the fire departments throughout Kentucky without cost to the department or firefighters.
Bryant Stiles recognized Sabine Gumm, Master Exercise Practitioner and Butch McKinney, Certified Emergency Manager for the exercise process.
Major Edgington ended the program with a discussion on the exercise program's cost. She stated there is no cost to the local agencies for exercises and emphasized that it is critical that all elected officials in each area have been notified about the exercises.
Representative Carolyn Belcher commented that they are doing a wonderful job with training going out to the region and the local levels. She stated that she is pleased to see the involvement with public health.
Senator Clark asked what position FEMA has in the Kentucky Emergency Management Agency and if they have morphed into the NIMS unit. Major Edgington stated that FEMA was still reorganizing and they are in FEMA Region 4 out of Atlanta. She stated if the thresholds for counties to make declarations were met in a particular incident, then they would be notified and there would be a determination by the Governor by virtue of briefings from the Adjutant General at what point they would kick it up to the FEMA level.
Co-Chair Pullin asked about Federal Homeland Security dollars diminishing this year and asked if they expected to get less money from the federal government in the future. Major Edgington stated that she saw the future of Homeland Security dollars continuing to diminish.
Representative Riggs asked if the medical surge units or trailers are equipped for radiological and biological chemical incidents. He asked where the trailers are kept in between incidents. Mr. Day responded that the trailers are designed to be used as a resource and they are not an exercise element. He said they are kept in 14 regions across the state. He stated they contain basic medical equipment, a limited amount of drugs and pharmaceuticals, and other resources if they have specific needs such as a disease outbreak or chemical problem. He said there will be a standardized resources available within two or three counties and local personnel will know where it is and how to use it. Representative Riggs asked for a map of the regions and Major Edgington stated that she would get him a copy of one.
Representative Riggs asked where the trailer was kept locally and if all 14 trailers were in place. Mr. Day stated that several regions have the trailers in place and within two weeks the rest will be in place and available for use.
Representative Nesler thanked Co-Chair Pullin and staff for putting together the most informative meeting he could recall ever having regarding public safety.
Senator Westwood asked what role would legislators have in an
emergency and how they would go about fulfilling it. Major Edgington stated
that prior to an emergency, they have an opportunity to talk to people and make
them aware of their commercial as it provides information on how to make a
plan, get a kit, and get involved. There will be about 3-5 days that people will
have to be able to take care of themselves because public health will be caring
for people with special needs or the elderly population.
Major Edgington stated the Homeland Security Annual Report was a part of the members' packet.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.