State Emergency Response Commission (SERC)  

The purpose of the SERC is to coordinate hazardous chemical planning and carry out the mandate of EPCRA and to establish state hazardous chemical emergency preparedness, response and community right-to-know program as required by EPCRA.

SERC Information Icona blue icon says LEOC TEPC Information
SERC Meeting Information
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Local and Tribal Emergency Planning Committees

Both Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) and Tribal Emergency Planning Committees (TEPC) are community representatives with an interest in hazardous materials safety and emergency preparedness. The LEPC or TEPC identifies potential risks from chemicals stored in, or transported through, the community and seeks ways to minimize risk, prevent accidents, and assist in the development of plans to respond to chemical emergencies and other hazards. More information on LEPC/TEPC can be found here.

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SERC and Grant Application-related business should be directed to

Questions regarding public records requests: Cynthia Whaley (253) 512-8110

SERC Information

Background.  In 1986, in response to a growing concern for safety around chemical facilities, Congress enacted the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA), also known as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). EPCRA establishes requirements for federal, state, tribal, and local governments, and industry regarding emergency response planning and the community’s right-to-know about hazardous chemicals as well as use, exposure, and transportation of hazardous materials. Additional information is available on the Department of Ecology EPCRA website, EPA EPCRA website and an EPA EPCRA fact sheet.

The Washington State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) was created in accordance with federal Public Law 99-499 and adopted under Washington Administrative Code 118-40

Purpose.  It is the mission of the SERC, Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) and Tribal Emergency Planning Committees (TEPC) to implement EPCRA in the Washington State to mitigate the effects of a release or spill of hazardous materials. The Department of Ecology, Washington State Patrol and Emergency Management Division of the Military Department have various responsibilities under WAC 118-40. Specific responsibilities of the commission include:

  • Designation of local emergency planning districts
  • Receive and record initial appointment of and revisions to LEPC/TEPC membership
  • Receive and review local hazardous materials emergency response plans
  • Administer and coordinate responsibilities of representative SERC members for implementing the EPCRA program in Washington State
  • Establish procedures for the receipt of, management and access to all notifications, reports, plans and all other information required by EPCRA
  • Coordination with EPA on EPCRA implementation
  • Appointment of ad hoc committees and working groups

Membership.  The SERC is comprised of a broad-based membership with representatives from private industry, state and local agencies. Currently, SERC membership comprises 26 individuals who represent the interests of state and local government, emergency services, industry and the environment.

Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery Training Resources

SERC and Grant Application-related business should be directed to

Local and Tribal Emergency Planning Committees

Purpose.  The purpose of a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and Tribal Emergency Planning Committee (TEPC) is to coordinate hazardous materials issues and carry out the mandate of EPCRA within their emergency planning district. LEPCs and TEPCs are crucial to the success of EPCRA and its goals. LEPCs and TEPCs prepare and plan for chemical emergencies as well as ensure the people in their community are aware of the chemical risks around them.

Responsibilities. Each LEPC and TEPC appoints a chairperson, meets regularly, and establishes rules by which the LEPC and TEPC shall operate. LEPCs and TEPCs may hold meetings as often as they deem necessary. In order to keep the LEPCs and TEPCs functioning effectively, regularly scheduled meetings that address local issues and work toward progress on key hazardous materials concerns are important.

Each LEPC and TEPC must develop a hazardous materials plan and update it at least annually. In accordance with WAC Chapter 118-40-160, each year every LEPC and TEPC must submit a list of their membership and the organizations they represent to the SERC. LEPCs and TEPCs should have a system for maintaining the hazardous materials information reported to them by businesses that are filing EPCRA reports. LEPCs and TEPCs should establish procedures for receiving and processing requests from the public for information about hazardous materials in their jurisdiction. 

In addition to its formal responsibilities, LEPCs and TEPCs serve as the focal point in their community for information on potential chemical risks. As such, LEPCs and TEPCs should educate the public of potential chemical risks in their community, what to do in the event of a chemical emergency, and how to shelter-in-place, or evacuate. The public should be encouraged to attend LEPC and TEPC meetings to discuss local chemical hazards, the emergency response plan, and emergency exercises and drills. LEPCs and TEPCs should engage with leaders of organizations in their community, such as schools, churches, nursing homes, and hospitals.

LEPCs and TEPCs are also encouraged to look beyond hazardous materials and use their forum to address all hazards that could threaten their communities. LEPCs and TEPCs can provide a convenient forum for awareness and planning for all types of hazards because their membership ideally represents a wide cross section of the community that would respond in a local emergency.

Membership. Each LEPC and TEPC should include representation from each of the following groups or organizations:

  • State and local officials
  • Local elected officials
  • Law enforcement
  • Emergency management
  • Fire fighting
  • First aid
  • Health professionals
  • Local environmental agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Transportation personnel
  • Broadcast and print media
  • Community groups
  • Owners and operators of facilities subject to the requirements of EPCRA

LEPCs and TEPCs frequently struggle to recruit and retain the under-involved groups of EPCRA i.e. hospitals, media, schools, community groups and industry. LEPCs and TEPCs may wish to consider meeting at times and places convenient for those members or provide Skype/call-in numbers.

Download our LEPC/TEPC Presentations

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LEPC/TEPC Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Plan

Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) must develop an emergency response plan, review the plan at least annually. Plans are developed by LEPCs with stakeholder participation. LEPCs can incorporate their LEPC plan into their wider Comprehensive Emergency Response Plan’s (CEMP) Emergency Support Function 10 Annex or have a stand-alone Hazardous Material Emergency Response Plan. Should the LEPC draft a stand-alone plan, care must be taken not to contradict any overarching community emergency plans and update the LEPC plan when changes are made to overarching documents. The SERC has provided templates to assist LEPCs in the development of their plans.

The LEPC plan must include, at a minimum, the nine planning requirements outlined in EPCRA:

  1. Identification of facilities that possess extremely hazardous substances and the transportation routes along which these substances may move.
  2. Emergency response procedures
  3. Designation of a community emergency coordinator and facility emergency coordinators
  4. Procedures providing reliable, effective, and timely notification
  5. Methods for determining the occurrence of a release, and the area or population likely to be affected
  6. A description of emergency equipment and facilities in the community
  7. Evacuation plans
  8. Training programs
  9. Methods and schedules for exercising the plan

In accordance with the RCW 38.52.040 and WAC 118-40-180, LEPCs and TEPCs must review their plans annually to address changed conditions within their community, and submit their plans to the SERC for review when updated, but not less than at least once every five years. Within 90 days, the SERC will review the plan and send a letter to the LEPC or TEPC outlining any suggested amendments to the plan.   

Hazardous Materials Training and Exercise

LEPCs and TEPCs may wish to appoint a Training and Exercise Working Group.  This group should contain representatives of various emergency preparedness disciplines and organizations and frequently report the group’s progress to the entire LEPC/TEPC at regularly scheduled meetings. Tasks for this working group may include:

  • Identify the community’s training needs
  • Identify existing training resources that are available
  • Coordinate with local emergency management, Homeland Security Region, State EMD, and Washington State Patrol for assistance in development of a three-year training and exercise plan to meet the collective needs of all disciplines and agencies  

Washington State Patrol provides hazardous materials training including Hazardous Materials Awareness, Operations, Technician, Hazardous Materials Chemistry, Hazardous Materials Safety Officer, On-Scene Incident Command, and other training courses based on the needs of the responder group.

Emergency Management Division offers a wide range of emergency management courses in the state.

Washington industry spill response drill are posted on the Northwest Area Committee’s Exercise Calendar.

Many federal agencies provide free in-person, mobile or web-based hazardous materials training. Hazardous materials training opportunities include:

Many industry groups and chemical trade associations have resources available to support emergency preparedness. Examples of industry hazardous materials training includes:

Additional Resources

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Hazardous Material Planning Team

Susan Forsythe - Program Supervisor: (253) 345-9010
Danielle Plenge -
Program Support: (253) 512-7135
David Kelley - Northwest Planner: (253) 512-7221
Chris Caprio - Southwest Planner: (253) 512-7310
Stephanie Hakala -
Central Planner: (253) 512-7046
Pete Hartmann -
Eastern Planner: (509) 435-6288

SERC Meeting Information

The purpose of the SERC is to develop and support programs of state and local governments and local university sponsored programs that are designed to improve emergency planning, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery capabilities, with special emphasis associated with hazardous chemicals. View this page for meeting details.

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Three Steps to Preparedness

Learn your Hazards
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Have a Plan
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Build Kits
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Learning about the hazards near where you work, play, and live will help you and your family be prepared for disasters that could happen, like earthquakes, floods, and pandemics.

Having a family disaster plan gives you peace of mind when a disaster happens. Decide as a family where your meeting locations are and who your out-of-area contact is.

You and your family may be on your own for at least two weeks when a disaster happens. Build a 2 Weeks Ready kit at home and smaller kits for work, school, and vehicles.