Resources and readiness: Wisconsin industrial response group takes another step forward

Superior Petroleum Partners holds its first public training exercise at Enbridge tank farm

How do you christen a carefully crafted safety partnership?

In this case, with Gorilla-style grit and Purple-K.

Near the end of June, Superior Petroleum Partners—a mutual aid group established for any industrial-sector emergencies that may arise in Superior, Wisconsin—held its first full-fledged public training exercise, after five years in the making.

The public-private partnership includes three large-scale energy sector companies in Superior’s industrial core—Enbridge, Plains Midstream, and Calumet Superior Refining—as well as the Superior Fire Department.

On June 26, that partnership was put to the test with a training exercise on Enbridge property. Firefighters from Superior FD sprayed down one of Enbridge’s crude oil storage tanks with a mixture of Purple-K, a dry chemical agent, and firefighting foam, using a purpose-built Gorilla tank and hose system.

“It’s five years’ culmination of work in one 10-minute evolution,” Superior FD battalion chief Scott Gordon told the Superior Telegram.

As part of the Superior Petroleum Partners collaboration, everyone brings something to the table.

For example:

  • Monthly refinery safety meetings, which include Superior firefighters, offer updates on facilities, equipment and resources;
  • Enbridge has provided Superior FD with about $600,000 in training and equipment since 2012;
  • The Calumet refinery maintains, trains and equips its own internal emergency response team;
  • The partnership has built up a large stockpile of firefighting foam, and can pool compatible resources in case of emergency;
  • Every member of Superior FD has attended specialized industrial firefighting training in Texas, funded by the petrochemical companies.

Regular simulation drills, like the one at Enbridge’s tank farm, also give response teams the “lay of the land” should an emergency ever arise.

“That’s key. We have to train together if we’re going to function together,” Superior FD chief Steve Panger told the Telegram. “It’s really important for us to train together, use the same terminology, kind of get on the same page.”

Above all else, Superior Petroleum Partners has created a sense of safety and security.

“Especially given the last three to four years, the resources Enbridge has brought to the table, the training group that has worked together, it undoubtedly helps every situation,” says Kollin Schade, manager of the Calumet refinery.

“If there were an incident, everybody’s prepared. They know how to handle it.”

(TOP PHOTO: An aerial photo shows the Superior Petroleum Partners' June 26, 2017 training exercise at Enbridge's tank farm in Superior, WI.)