Preparing for incidents before they happen

The pipeline industry’s primary focus is to keep 100 per cent of the product in the pipe and ensure incidents do not happen. CEPA members ensure the integrity of their pipelines by protecting against corrosion, doing regular maintenance, conducting thorough inspections and monitoring from high-tech control centres.

In the unlikely event of an emergency, CEPA members are prepared. Every pipeline operator has tools at the ready to ensure a swift response if an incident occurs.

Emergency response plans

Experts create emergency response plans for every pipeline, outlining exactly what needs to happen to effectively manage an emergency. These plans cover all steps of the response in detail, including:

  • Stopping the leak by shutting down systems quickly and safely
  • Dispatching first responders and clean-up crews
  • Getting spill response equipment to the site
  • Containing the released product to minimize spreading
  • Ensuring the safety of the public, employees and contractors
  • Protecting wildlife, water bodies and vegetation
  • Repairing the pipeline
  • Cleaning up, remediating and restoring the site
  • Long-term monitoring of the site to determine if any further action is required

Preparing crews and equipment

Pipeline operators have crews on standby who are prepared to quickly respond in case of an emergency. Emergency equipment is also strategically placed along the pipeline route, so it can be easily accessed. Pipeline operators have access to Oil Spill Containment and Recovery (OSCAR) units, which are pre-packed in semi-trailers for immediate transport.

There are a variety of OSCAR units available to address different types of emergencies.

Combining the resources of all CEPA members

If there is an emergency, CEPA members are committed to helping each other by sharing resources and best practices through the Mutual Emergency Assistance Agreement (MEAA). Companies can ask each other for help in the form of personnel, equipment, tools or specialized response advice, depending on the situation.

This agreement strengthens emergency response by formalizing and legalizing an existing industry practice – because any operator’s incident is every operator’s incident.

Emergency response exercises

Every pipeline operator holds regular training exercises to prepare their team to respond to emergencies. Teams are drilled in different emergency situations to ensure if an incident happens, the response is fast, coordinated and effective. In addition, all CEPA members participate in joint emergency response exercises to practice enacting the MEAA and coordinating a response.

Pipeline Emergency responders making emergency plans

During an emergency exercise, command centres are set up to practice enacting proper response procedures.

Pipeline Emergency equipment

CEPA members have trained crews standing by to respond quickly with oil spill containment and recovery equipment (called OSCAR units) to contain the leak.

Practicing Pipeline Emergency response procedures on water

Emergency response is practiced for a variety of potential incidents. Photo courtesy of TransMountain Expansion.

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