Striving for perfection in emergency preparation

Bighorn River drill tests Enbridge’s emergency response capabilities in Wyoming

As a former firefighter, Lex Dyer “lived and breathed training.”

Dyer was entirely in his element in recent weeks, as the Enbridge emergency response specialist based in Casper, Wyoming coordinated a simulation drill on the nearby Bighorn River to test Enbridge’s emergency response preparedness.

“I come from the fire service, and we lived and breathed training. So I've always tried to get different perspectives on what we were doing and am open to learning about new ways to go about our response,” says Dyer.

The Aug. 25 response exercise involved about a dozen Enbridge employees, including members of our Powell District field response team. The exercise focused on containment and recovery of a simulated release from our Express-Platte Pipeline into the Bighorn River due to a block valve leak. Participants used booms and skimmers to practice containing and recovering a release.

“Our emergency response drills are a twofold effort, in that that we test our equipment—making sure everything is in good working order—and we also test our teams, as far as knowledge goes, on our plans for a response to a release,” says Dyer.

While turnout response was limited this year due to COVID-19 concerns, these drills typically involve representatives of local emergency response organizations working alongside Enbridge personnel.

At Enbridge, safety isn’t just a core value—it’s embedded in everything we do.

Prevention is a critical component of pipeline safety, and we focus on prevention at Enbridge before issues arise, with the ultimate goal of preventing all spills and releases.

And while we hope we never have to respond to an incident, we’re committed to being prepared in the event that we do. We maintain a strong emergency management training and exercise program, and we work with local first responders, emergency management and government agencies to make continuous improvement.

In 2019, our people were involved in 225 drills, simulation exercises and equipment deployment events, in all North American regions where we operate, to test and sharpen our emergency preparedness.

During this latest drill in Wyoming, “we brought in a consultant to our training as well, to help with manpower and to give us a different perspective on our tactics and strategies,” says Dyer.

(TOP PHOTO: Enbridge employees take part in an emergency response drill on Wyoming's Bighorn River in August 2020.)