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State Emergency Response Commission (SERC)

Every state in the Union has a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), which plays a key role in the event of a chemical-related disaster. Mandated by federal law, the intention of this entity is to strengthen emergency planning efforts in the event of a chemical-related disaster, at the local and state level.

To ensure the survival of its citizens, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986, also known as "EPCRA", ensures that each state's SERC will ducate the public, as well as local authorities, about possible chemical hazards that may affect local populations.

Most industries and state agencies use chemicals in the production of goods, services, or operations. EPCRA will require any such site to provide documentation and report the presence of any chemicals that are received, inventoried, expended, and disposed of at any time. This law also makes sure that the various requirements on different types of chemicals are followed to the letter.

Your state's SERC has been established to provide information and detail that is important to your own survival should a chemical spill or accidental release of toxic gas occur. It is challenged in the set up of emergency planning districts on a local level. Each district will have a SERC appointed and supervised Local Emergency Planning Committee, or LEPC. This committee plans out an emergency response plan within the district's boundaries, and is reviewed every year.

Through these channels, the SERC ultimately is responsible for the identification of chemical-using facilities, routes on which any chemicals are transported, and tracking their use. It also ensures that notification is broadcasted if an emergency exists. Also, it is tasked with making sure an organized response is in action to protect communities, as well as workers employed at any given facility.

Please research your state's SERC and how your community is informed of an emergency situation to ensure your own survival. Your local district is tasked to ensure your safety, but awareness is also crucial in making sure that you and your family are safe.