Topics of Importance Emergency Preparedness & Response

2015 Performance


In 2015, we ran more than 360 drills, exercises and equipment deployments to test and sharpen our emergency preparedness.

We have more than 1,400 employees trained in the Incident Command System.

Approximately 93 percent of the 1,700 employees who must have up-to-date emergency response training met the requirement.

Emergency Response and Preparedness Initiatives

The following are some of the initiatives we undertook in 2015 to boost our emergency response and preparedness. For information about initiatives related to our Public Awareness Program, please see the Stakeholder Engagement section of this report.

Enbridge Enterprise Emergency Response Team

The Enbridge Enterprise Emergency Response Team is a cross-business-unit group trained to respond to large-scale events in Canada and the U.S. that would require more resources than a single Enbridge operating region or business segment could provide.  In 2015, the team included 175 employees from across the company.

Since its inception in 2012, the response team has conducted annual training exercises involving all of our major business segments, emergency response contractors and consultants, as well as local, state, provincial and federal emergency response and government agencies.

On September 24, 2015, members of the response team gathered at the Straits of Mackinac in northern Michigan for an emergency response exercise. Hosted by LP, the events tested our emergency response plans alongside the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, as well as state agencies and local first responders. The exercise, which simulated a release of 4,500 barrels of light crude oil, involved more than 700 individuals representing federal, state, local community and response agencies. We led the exercise with the support of a multi-jurisdictional planning team. Numerous types of response, recovery and containment equipment were deployed in the Straits—including eight Coast Guard vessels, four skimmers, two vacuum trucks, 12 small boats and more than 5,000 feet of boom—to support tactical operations identified during the exercise planning process.

The exercise planning team consisted of company employees; federal, state and local agencies; law enforcement; area tribes; and our key contractors. Exercise planning focused on command, control and coordination of a simulated event, and meeting the National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program guidelines. Additional elements of exercise design targeted on-water recovery, shoreline protection and cleanup, air monitoring and wildlife recovery.  

Emergency Response Exercises

To keep our employees and contractors prepared, we stage exercises and drills in all our operating regions. These include:

  • notification drills,
  • tabletop exercises,
  • equipment deployments,
  • functional exercises, and
  • full-scale exercises involving equipment, Enbridge employees and contractors, local first responders and other third-party agencies.

During these exercises, our employees and contractors—often in concert with local and regional first response agencies—participate in activities focused on specific objectives. During these exercises, local first responders, agencies, government and industry representatives often observe the process and have a firsthand look at how we are prepared to react in the event of an incident. The exercises also give them the opportunity to provide feedback on how they would respond or assist during a pipeline emergency.

In 2015, we staged more than 360 drills, exercises and equipment deployments across our company.

In addition to the large exercise at the Straits of Mackinac, other highlight events included:

  • In February, GD staged a day-long exercise in Brampton, Ontario, to test collective response to a large-scale emergency incident involving a high pressure pipeline. The joint exercise included about 65 participants, including first responders, GD employees, the National Energy Board and the city’s Emergency Management Office.
  • In May, LP held a full-scale emergency response exercise on the Souris River, near Towner, North Dakota, simulating third-party damage to a pipeline. The two-day exercise tested our ability in different areas, including equipment deployment and public notification, and drew more than 150 Enbridge personnel and contractors from across Canada and the U.S. Local emergency response organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the North Dakota Department of Health, and North Dakota Game and Fish, also took part.
  • In October, local GPP&ES plant operations, field operators and third-party responders, including county emergency management, participated in an emergency exercise at our gas plant in Zybach, Texas. The half-day event tested their ability to respond to a tank truck collision and explosion.
  • Our GPT&ET group participated in more than 16 emergency drills at our wind farms and solar facilities in Canada and the U.S. In April, for example, we took part in a drill at our Blackspring Ridge wind farm in Alberta. Led by the project contractor, the exercise simulated the response from local fire and ambulance services to an emergency situation involving the rescue of an injured worker from a wind turbine.

Incident Command System Training

We use the Incident Command System (ICS), an emergency response methodology used 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.

We provide ICS training to anyone who could fill a leadership and response role during an incident.  We have trained more than 1,400 of our employees in the ICS methodology, and continue to train more.

Training for Employees who hold Non-Operational Roles

With a workforce of almost 11,000 employees and contractors across Canada and the U.S., all of our employees play a vital role in pipeline safety and emergency response. As such, we have developed an online course to provide emergency response training to employees who hold non-operational roles, but who could be called upon to play a supporting role in an emergency. To be launched in 2016, the course will cover:

  • the products we transport and their associated hazards,
  • leak indicators for liquids and natural gas pipelines,
  • what to do in an emergency,
  • ICS methodology, 
  • personal protective equipment, and
  • the role of emergency responders in an incident.

Safe Community Program

One of our flagship community investment programs is our Safe Community program, under which we provide grants to law enforcement agencies, firefighters, emergency medical services, emergency management, 9-1-1 and other related health providers who would respond to emergency situations in or near communities where we have operations. The grants help eligible organizations acquire new safety-related equipment, obtain professional training and deliver safety education programs in their communities. For more information, please see the Community Investment section of this report.

Emergency Responder Education Program

Since 2012, we have offered the Emergency Responder Education Program (EREP) to first responders to train them on how to safely and effectively respond to pipeline emergencies. EREP is based on Pipeline Emergencies, an industry-leading pipeline emergency response training program that the U.S. National Association of State Fire Marshals developed.

Available online to emergency response organizations in the U.S. and Canada, EREP uses 3D graphics to engage and prepare emergency responders to respond to a pipeline emergency.  It includes information on ICS and on how we would work with emergency responders in the event of an emergency, as well as tactics and practice scenarios to help first responders visualize potential response situations.

Over the last three years, about 2,300 emergency responders, Enbridge employees and other interested parties in the U.S. and Canada have completed EREP training.

We have also expanded this program with a training module targeted at 9-1-1 call center personnel, so that they are equipped, if necessary, to initiate a safe and effective response to a pipeline incident.  Developed in partnership with the National Emergency Number Association, the module includes background on how to recognize leak indicators, how to contact pipeline operators, and how to relay information to emergency responders and the public. Since introduction of the expanded training in 2014, about 1,530 dispatch and call center personnel, emergency responders, Enbridge employees and other interested parties have completed the module (approximately 1,230 U.S. and 300 Canadian).

Natural Gas Training for Fire Departments

It is critical that first responders know how to properly respond to natural gas-related emergencies so they can protect the public, mitigate property damage and assist GD crews once they are on site. To that end, GD trained more than 280 firefighters in 2015 through its new first responder natural gas awareness program, developed in association with the Canadian Gas Association.

Leadership through Industry Associations

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 (API), the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL), the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), and the Common Ground Alliance. In Canada, we are a member of the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA).

Enbridge is 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. The group has previously participated in conferences such as Fire-Rescue International, the Fire Department Instructors Conference, and the National Emergency Number Association annual conference. 

In addition, GD is an associate member of the Northeast Gas Association. Membership in this association gives GD access to additional staff and resources from nearby U.S. gas utilities in the event of a major emergency on its natural gas distribution system.

In 2015, we advanced a number of collaborative initiatives through industry associations:

  • Through an API committee involving other pipeline companies and stakeholders, we helped to lead the development of a Recommended Practice for Onshore Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Emergency Preparedness and Response. The document (API RP 1174) will be used to promote continuous improvement of emergency planning and response processes, based on lessons learned from exercises and real events.
  • In partnership with API, AOPL and INGAA, we helped to develop a series of pipeline educational videos for emergency responders.
  • As part of CEPA’s emergency response working group, we helped develop response time guidelines and an industry-wide mutual aid agreement for pipelines. This agreement will assist companies in requesting assistance from other pipeline operators in the case of an incident.
  • Through CEPA, we supported commissioning of an independent study by the Royal Society of Canada on the behavior of crude oil spills in different water environments. In response to a request from CEPA and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Royal Society of Canada convened an expert panel to review scientific knowledge and conduct research on a wide range of crude oils to further examine their behavior in aquatic environments. Completed in 2015, the study concludes that oil spills are rare and, despite the importance of oil type, the overall impact of an oil spill depends mainly on the environmental conditions and time of response. It also sets out a framework of additional research that we hope will help to further improve our leading spill prevention and emergency response capabilities.
  • Working with members of the CGA, GD revised our natural gas awareness program for first responders to create a standardized Canadian training program. Gas distribution companies are delivering the CGA-endorsed program to local fire and police departments across Canada.
  • In collaboration with CGA, GD also ran a mutual aid exercise in November simulating a large-scale natural gas outage. The day-long exercise saw gas utilities across Canada working together to respond to a significant (simulated) emergency that would have required additional resources.