Originally Civil Defense and required by Pennsylvania Title 35, Part V (Emergency Management Services) the Emergency Management Division (EMA) of the Luzerne County Department plans and prepares for emergencies, educates the public about preparedness, coordinates prevention, emergency response, recovery and mitigation from the effects of disaster and collects and disseminates emergency information. The Division is dedicated to assisting all citizens and organizations to be prepared for emergencies.
The Local Emergency Planning Committee of Luzerne County was created as a direct result of Congress passing Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986. Congress enacted this law to help local communities protect public health, safety and environment from chemical hazards.
The LEPC oversees the Hazardous Materials Response Account in addition to approving the Off-site Emergency Response Plans. The committee meets quarterly.
Act 165 defines LEPC membership in the following manner:
A local committee shall be composed of:
• the county emergency management coordinator
• one county commissioner
And at least one person selected from each of the following groups:
• Elected officials representing local governments within the county.
• Law enforcement, first aid, health, local environmental, hospital and transportation personnel.
• Firefighting personnel.
• Civil defense and emergency management personnel.
• Broadcast and print media.
• Community groups not affiliated with emergency service groups.
• Owners and operators of facilities subject to the requirements of SARA, Title III.
Along with Act 165 legislation, Luzerne County passed an ordinance requiring reporting facilities to pay chemical and off-site emergency response planning fees. Currently the annual fees are $75.00 per chemical and $100.00 per off-site emergency response plan. The reporting period runs from January 1st to March 1st. For this reason, the Act 165/Hazardous Materials Response Account was created. By law, this is a segregated account that can only be used for the Hazardous Materials Program.