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Officials establishing emergency plan to protect Smith Mountain Lake from hazardous materials

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ROANOKE (WSLS) - Local leaders want to make sure Smith Mountain Lake and the people who use it remain safe. On Tuesday, law enforcement agencies, environmentalists and emergency crews gathered as part of a newly-formed emergency preparation advisory board. The goal is to safeguard one of our areas jewels from hazardous materials.

Many remember the scene from 2014, when a train carrying crude oil derailed in Lynchburg. Crews at the lake want to be prepared to handle similar incidents.

When it comes to containing emergencies, local leaders said the first four hours, after an incident occurs, are key.

"There is this window where we are on our own," said Tom Lovegrove, Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue. "We need to have the equipment, the process and we need to know what's going across the tracks, when it's going across the tracks. We want to know what we are dealing with."

Lovegrove helped establish an Emergency Preparation Advisory Board for Smith Mountain Lake. It is made up of local, state and federal agents trained to identify potential threats.

Official said it is important for SML and other communities along rail and transportation routes to plan ahead. Moving forward, local leaders plan to do a risk analysis and establish a budget. Their goal is to have the resources needed to protect Smith Mountain Lake and it's residents from any emergency that may occur.