4 things you should know about the Mutual Emergency Assistance Agreement

Last week, CEPA announced a Mutual Emergency Assistance Agreement (MEAA) between its member companies. Programs with long acronyms can be mind-boggling, we know, but in fact, the agreement is quite straight-forward. Basically, it will strengthen the way CEPA’s member companies respond to emergencies. The agreement formalizes a framework for sharing resources between companies in the event of a major incident.

Here is a break down of the agreement into four key points (and we will only use a couple more acronyms, we promise):

1. The agreement means companies can share everything from equipment to expertise

The MEAA is laid out so any one of CEPA’s member companies can request assistance from any other member company in the event of a major incident. Depending on what the situation requires, the assisting company may provide resources such as personnel, tools or specialized advice.

 “This MEAA is the full-meal deal,” said Ziad Saad, vice-president of safety and sustainability with CEPA. “It is a comprehensive agreement that allows for sharing equipment, expertise and human resources.”

2. The agreement formalizes an already existing practice between our members

“Over the years it has become a common practice for companies to offer assistance to their peers should a significant incident occur,” explained Saad. “In the absence of a formal MEAA, however, it was difficult to provide the full range of potential assistance as the rules governing assistance were never laid out.”

Now that this practice of resource sharing has been formalized, it will remove legal barriers and strengthen our members’ emergency response capabilities (PDF).

3. The agreement requires companies to work within ICS protocols

ICS stands for Incident Command System. This is an important part of the agreement because it outlines how multiple companies collaborate in response to an emergency.

“This is a protocol that emergency responders use to be efficiently and effectively organized in case of an emergency,” said Saad.

4. We’re working together to improve

The MEAA demonstrates a level of cooperation seldom seen in the private sector. This agreement demonstrates how important it is to CEPA and its member companies to continuously improve the performance of our industry. Our goal is to have zero incidents; however, if an incident occurs, we want to ensure we provide the fast and effective response Canadians expect of us.

The MEAA comes into effect on Jan. 1. Visit our MEAA page for more info on the agreement.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 115,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2012, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.