With numerous pipelines crossing the United States, consideration for the management of fire-related emergencies is often overlooked at unmanned remote sites. In the past, these fires were often allowed to burn themselves out once the product had been secured. This practice is costly and can potentially escalate the public sector threat and environmental impact. In addition, today’s environmental awareness and regulatory environment makes this practice unacceptable.
Given the resources available for today’s safety and emergency organizations, pipeline operators should AND CAN develop an effective emergency response plan for these remote / unmanned sites that addresses regional assets, logistics, mutual aid resources, incident command and interagency operability.
Tasked by a pipeline company who maintains a national response contract with IES, lead personnel with IES developed response plans for each of the client’s sites which succinctly guides activation of response assets and activities around various incident types involving these facilities, i.e.
- Operational site profile information
- Emergency contact information
- Local response / mutual aid agencies
- Neighboring public sector assets and economic concerns related to each area
- Other pertinent information
Once these plans were approved, IES developed a training program to exercise emergency communications, mutual aid activation, supply line logistics, and response operations – from incipient response protocols through extinguishment, incident control and monitoring and reporting.
These plans were recently tested when a pipeline crude oil product release occurred in a rural California area. Upon notification, IES responded with personnel and equipment, which included:
- Five Industrial Fire Response Personnel
- Quick Attack Truck with foam capabilities
- Wildland Type VI Engine
- Air Monitoring Equipment
IES established a water supply utilizing a local environmental company and a bank of frac tanks and provided 24-hour fire standby to prevent ignition of this dry tinder region of California that has already suffered from numerous devastating fires this year. This rapid response on behalf of our pipeline customer eased the minds of the land owner, regulatory agencies, and local fire responders who have been heavily overtaxed due to ongoing wildfires in the region.
As with all events, this occurrence served as a proof of concept for the IES preplans put in place for such emergencies and with Post Incident Analysis and continued gap analysis will continue to serve in improving actions and identified assets as they apply to future operations.