Safety is not just a core value at Enbridge. It’s the very foundation of our business. We work relentlessly to ensure the safety of our workforce and communities, keep our infrastructure healthy and fit for service, and maintain strong emergency preparedness and response systems.
We have robust emergency preparedness and response systems—which we constantly test, review and improve—in the unlikely event of a pipeline incident.
At Enbridge, we plan for safe, reliable, incident-free operations, in keeping with our belief that all incidents can be prevented—and that no release is acceptable.
We also prepare to respond in the unlikely event of an incident involving the operation of our assets. Robust emergency preparedness and response systems are in place, regularly tested and continually enhanced through our own experience and learnings and through best practice within and beyond our industry. We partner proactively with local first responders, emergency management groups, and state and federal agencies.
We regularly review our emergency management programs across our businesses to ensure that they are functioning as intended and identify improvement opportunities. In the event of an incident, our employees and contractors are well trained and equipped to ensure a safe, rapid and effective response.
Emergency preparedness requires a systematic approach to identify potential hazards and plan mitigation and remediation tactics so that a response is rapid and effective, and ensures the safety of responders, the community and the environment. An overview of our Emergency Management Programs is available here.
Enbridge’s emergency management programs, which are implemented within all our business units, guide our emergency preparedness and response. Our programs use an organizational structure for incident management that, depending on the nature and magnitude of an incident, covers all levels of the organization—from front-line workers to executive leadership—and can be activated immediately. Additionally, these programs are regularly reviewed and periodically audited to ensure their continual improvement and proper functioning.
Our comprehensive emergency response plans are tailored to each business unit to cover distinct operations and risks, including geographic-specific information. We regularly review, audit, update and test these plans to ensure they work as expected. Our emergency management programs outline the review and improvement cycles. All of our regulated plans were updated in 2018. Relevant information from our emergency response plans is shared with local first responders.
We place high importance on training our employees and direct contractors that would be involved in an emergency response. The training individuals receive aligns with the role they would fill during a response, and covers potential hazards or risks that may be encountered during an emergency. Through the end of 2018, approximately 2,700 of our employees and direct contractors have received emergency response training. And over 94% of the required training courses were completed across the enterprise by the end of 2018.
Our emergency response training uses the Incident Command System (ICS), a federally recognized emergency response methodology applied across North America by military, first-response agencies, and local, state, provincial and federal governments. ICS enables our employees and contractors to react quickly and efficiently to the emerging issues and challenges that are inevitable in a real-life emergency response.
In addition to ICS training, we design emergency response training programs that meet the specific needs of each of our business units, and which reflect their specific risks and types of emergency situations. For example, operations staff in our LP business unit may complete booming, skimming and boat-handling courses.
Our Enbridge Enterprise Emergency Response Team (E³RT) is a cross-business-unit group trained to respond to large-scale events in Canada and the U.S. that require more resources than one of our operating regions or business units alone could provide. The E3RT members are trained in ICS. In 2018, the E3RT participated in the full scale Des Plaines River exercise hosted by LP's Great Lakes Region.
Exercising our emergency response teams
To maintain and exercise preparedness, we stage both discussionbased and operations-based exercises across the Company, including seminars, workshops and tabletop drills as well as full-scale exercises involving our employees and contractors, local first responders and other third-party agencies. In 2018, Enbridge staged 315 drills, exercises and equipment deployments to hone our emergency preparedness skills and capabilities.
During these exercises, local first responders, agencies, government and industry representatives get a firsthand look at how we are prepared to respond in the event of an incident and provide feedback on how they would respond or assist during a pipeline emergency.
Working with key industry and emergency response associations
When required, our field response teams work with local emergency responders. We value the expertise of local emergency responders, and we are committed to strengthening our partnerships with them through meetings, training exercises, personal contact, information updates and our Emergency Responder Education Program.
Through industry associations, we exchange best practices with other operators and participate in committee activities and joint exercises for the purpose of advancing safety and emergency preparedness. In the U.S., we actively participate in public awareness groups sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, and the Common Ground Alliance. In Canada, we are a member of the Canadian Gas Association and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.
We are also a member of the Pipeline Operators Safety Partnership, a group of pipeline operators who work together to build relationships with first responders and promote pipeline safety at annual conferences. In addition, Enbridge Gas Inc. (GDS) is an associate member of the Northeast Gas Association, which can provide additional resources from nearby utility companies, if needed, to support a company’s response to a significant incident on its natural gas distribution system.
In 2018 Enbridge GDS trained 329 firefighters and visited 101 fire stations as part of the Company’s first responder natural gas awareness program. Going forward, the combined utility will focus on a train-the-trainer approach in conjunction with the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. Enbridge piloted this approach in December 2018, taking 21 fire department training officers through a train-the-trainer session at the Enbridge Technology and Operations Centre. This train-the-trainer approach will further enhance the delivery of training throughout the distribution area.
In 2018 Enbridge conducted a full-scale emergency management exercise at our Des Plaines River facility in Will County, IL. The exercise involved the simulation of a large-scale incident (a light crude oil release from Line 14) to test response capabilities such as containment and recovery efforts. Line 14 predominately transports light crude oil to Chicago area refineries.
Exercise participants included members from E3RT and LP’s Great Lakes Region Incident Management Team.
One hundred and thirty five employees and nearly 100 outside observers and participants tested and assessed Enbridge’s overall response capability during the full-scale exercise, as well as specific activities, such as spill containment and recovery. Representatives from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Will County Emergency Management, City of Joliet, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration also participated.
“Exercises like this one test the readiness of our team to quickly converge from across the Company. It also gives employees and first responders real-world training to work together effectively on an incident response.”
Brad Shamla, Vice President, LP U.S. Operations