Date of Award


Degree Type



Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

First Advisor

Bowen, William

Subject Headings

Emergency management -- United States -- Planning, Hazardous substances -- United States -- Management, Emergency communication systems -- United States, Interagency coordination -- United States, LEPC, Local Emergency Planning Committee, precaution, proactivity, risk, mitigation, EHS, extremely hazardous substances


Millions of factories, chemical facilities, and highways store or convey extremely hazardous substances (EHS) in proximity to populated residential and commercial areas. The proliferation of hazardous chemicals in manufacturing has led to thousands of facilities that store and utilize them throughout the United States. There is inherent risk to neighborhoods and populated areas located near facilities that use and store hazardous chemicals. Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) were created in 1987 as stakeholder based, primarily volunteer organizations that address hazardous chemical accident mitigation. In addition, LEPCs were mandated with the intent of engaging communities in the debate about hazardous materials. Public safety has also increased in salience in the United States in particular since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastation in New Orleans. More recently, the earthquakes in Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, and most notably Japan have refocused efforts worldwide on examining policies and practices surrounding disaster management and response. This dissertation is an examination of compliance and proactivity in LEPCs and how use of limited resources influences these factors. A convenient sample of LEPCs in Ohio was surveyed to gather data for this causally probative study. LEPCs that are more compliant and proactive were expected to be in counties with larger, more urban populations that have more accident experience, and are expected to be in line with disaster management strategies that emphasize public involvement. The results of this study show a positive correlation between number of extremely hazardous substance facilities in a county and the compliance of that county's LEPC. Other findings include limited emphasis on provision of information to the public. Emergency planning resources have been stretched further and further, with additional responsibilities of homeland security in addition to chemical safety tasks, and little to no addition