At Enbridge, safety goes beyond preventing incidents on our systems to keep our neighbors, communities and the environment safe, and beyond making sure our employees and contractors return home safe and sound at the end of each day.
For us, safety includes helping communities become safer, which is why we’ve provided nearly $8.5 million in grants and donations through our Safe Community program to first response agencies in Canada and the United States since 2002.
We work with local first responders to build safety in the communities along our pipelines and near our operations and projects. Over the years, our grants have helped support everything from new firehoses, training and the purchase of jaws-of-life for fire departments to policing equipment, automated external defibrillators, vehicles and major financial support of air ambulance services.
In Rio, WI, Enbridge’s Safe Community program doubled the motor pool of the town’s police department in 2014, donating a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer.
Jeff Becker, Rio’s Chief of Police, picks up the story: “Last year I was talking with our local Enbridge rep, Brad TenBarge, and I mentioned a situation where our only police vehicle was in use on one call, when we had another call come in.
“Brad asked how we had responded to the second call, and, basically, we had to get there on-foot,” Becker says. “We’re a small police department and we only have the budget for one vehicle.”
Enbridge’s donation answered an important need and was more than just an extra vehicle for the Rio PD.
“Enbridge helped the community and the taxpayer by giving us a resource that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise afford. And they made it easier and safer to do our job,” Becker says, noting this year’s Safe Community grant will go towards installing lights and a radio in the vehicle.
Randy Koehn, the Fire Chief in Columbus, WI, says the Safe Community program boosts public safety in his town.
The first grant, a few years ago, helped purchase a fire extinguisher simulator which has proved popular with local residents and which Koehn uses to add a touch of realism to fire drills at local schools. “We have it out for people to try it at public events and we have requests from business and industry for us to come in and do training at their facilities.”
Koehn says this year’s grant is earmarked for tablets and Wi-Fi for fire trucks. “If we’re on the site of an emergency, connecting to the Internet will allow us to access online resources. Safely remedying a situation in shorter order means the result is safer for us, safer for the local residents, and better for the environment.”
Patrick Beghin, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Columbia County, WI, sees the difference that the Safe Community program has made right across the region.
Enbridge pipelines cross a large stretch of the county, passing through five fire department districts, and Beghin notes that Enbridge has reached out and provided training for them on pipeline emergency response. But he adds that the impact of the Safe Community program extends well beyond safety related to Enbridge’s operations.
“We might never have to respond to an incident on the pipeline, but the resources Enbridge provides to first response agencies get used in the community daily to support public safety.”
(This story was originally published in our 2014 Enbridge Safety Report to the Community, released online in late September 2015 and distributed to thousands of our neighbors near Enbridge’s pipelines and facilities across the U.S. and Canada.)