Oregon has difficulty keeping track of local hazardous-materials incident response plans says the Statesman Journal
Twenty years after a federal act required communities to prepare for hazardous-materials disasters and to inform the public about them, state officials do not have an overall grasp of how communities have responded.
“They never really could get a handle on how to help validate emergency response plans at the local level while just being one entity within the state,” said Terry Wolfe of the Office of State Fire Marshal‘s hazardous materials services and community right-to-know divisions.
Alone among the 50 states, Oregon established a centralized system of coordination.
But the Oregon officials in charge don’t know how many communities have such plans, how often the plans are reviewed or who the public can contact to receive a copy of a specific community’s plan.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Oregon’s communities are not prepared for a chemical explosion or a hazardous spill.
Reporters in counties and cities across Oregon found comprehensive emergency-response plans specific to their communities. The plans tailored to each community include hazardous materials likely to spill, evacuation routes and lists of emergency responders.
Oregon also has 15 regional hazardous- materials-response teams (pdf) ready to respond to an emergency.
Oregon receives about $170,000 per year from the federal Department of Transportation to fund emergency response for hazardous materials — an amount that experts agree is far short of what is needed. Wolfe and Ruiz-Temple called the federal act an “unfunded mandate.”
Combining the community right-to-know piece with the emergency response act is intentional and critical, Orum said. “It’s a matter of competence,” Orum said. “You need effective information sharing to have competent planning.”
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While Oregon may have trouble tracking hazardous materials plans, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race seems to have no problem tracking sled teams across Alaska. A new Iditarod website (www.panasonic.com/iditaro) provides close up coverage.
Panasonic P2 HD camcorders record the teams of up to 16 athletes and their mushers during the marathon 1,150 mile race, which started in Anchorage on March 4th and will end in Nome, some 10 to 17 days later.
To record all facets of the marathon race, Panasonic’s P2 HD are used in a myriad of vehicles, from airplanes to a helicopter (with a Wescam rig) to snowmobiles. Over 140 hours of P2 HD video footage are expected to be captured.
The race goes through North America’s largest mountain range (the Alaska Range); stretches along the mighty Yukon River, and then culminates on the Gold Coast of Norton Sound.
Dogs are marked in two ways, by an RF-ID chip under the skin and by collar tags. Iridium-based tracking devices are supplied by World Communication Center, an Iridium value-added reseller and service provider. Air Force Pilots, known as the Iditarod Air Force are lead by chief pilot John Norris.
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