The Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) was created in 1986 as a unique partnership between the United States Army and FEMA. The program was a result of a Congressional mandate that chemical munitions stored at the Anniston Army Depot (and seven other sites) be destroyed. CSEPP was developed to ensure that communities surrounding a chemical stockpile facility, communities like Calhoun County, were prepared for emergencies that could result from an accident during the destruction of the chemical stockpile. It is because of this partnership combined with the ongoing cooperation of local emergency managers, first responders, and volunteers that Calhoun County has been able to prepare effectively for the worst.
In Calhoun County, CSEPP provided the means for the Calhoun County EMA to have increased staffing and a new facility which includes a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center. CSEPP also provided funding for 108 outdoor warning sirens to alert citizens during an emergency as well as provided over 65,000 free NOAA weather radios to serve as emergency alert radios in homes, schools, and businesses in the county. The thousands of hours of training offered by CSEPP have made citizens and first responders better able to prepare for and respond to emergencies. The 800 Megahertz radio system funded by CSEPP provided first responders with a more reliable radio system to use every day and in emergencies.
The efforts of the many individuals involved in the CSEPP program have also helped to increase the level of disaster preparedness in Calhoun County. Our Citizens are now better protected, thanks to the outdoor warning sirens stationed throughout the county and the free emergency alert radios distributed in the county. First Responders are able to communicate better and faster thanks to the 800 MHz radio system. Families, schools, and businesses know now that a Disaster Supply Kit and an Emergency Plan are essential.
Thanks to the countless hours of hard work provided by the many individuals involved in the CSEPP program here in Alabama, the destruction of the stockpile at the Anniston Army Depot was safely completed on September 22, 2011. Although the chemical weapons threat has been mitigated, CSEPP's legacy of preparedness, training, and cooperation will be an asset to our county for years to come.
For more information about CSEPP, please visit http://www.areyoureadygoema.org/.