Several Columbia County companies have begun working with the Richmond County Local Emergency Planning Committee to formulate their risk management plans, which detail the risks the industries could pose to local communities.
Richmond County Emergency Management Agency Director Pam Tucker has discussed the plans with representatives from World Color, U.S. Battery, Greenfield Industries and Pollard Lumber Company in recent weeks.
Under the Clean Air Act, which requires the risk management plans, companies must complete the plans before June 12, 1999.
"It is getting here fast and it won't take long," Mrs. Tucker said. "Since we've finished ours, we thought we'de offer our assistance to some neighboring companies and they seemed very interested in that. We've had one meeting and we've already have had some team work going on."
Mrs. Tucker said working with the companies is a good step toward Columbia County joining the LEPC.
"They (Columbia County) have such few companies," Mrs. Tucker said. "If they had as many companies as we do, it might be a little difficult, We're all in this metropolitan area anyway. County lines don't mean much to disaster preparedness people."
The 24-member LEPC, formed in 1994, represents government, industry, schools, environmental regulators and citizens with common goals that include emergency preparedness and safety programs.
Columbia County Community and Emergency Services Director Rusty Wade said county officials are definitely interested in joining the LEPC, although they have toyed with the idea of starting their own committee.
And local officials have been working with local companies on emergency planning.
"We visit the companies and talk to them and help them all we can," he said.
Mr. Wade said the county began working to form an LEPC about two years ago.
"We've actually had meetings at Savannah Rapids and invited all the major players to those meetings and it just never got off the ground," he said.