Emergency Preparedness

Material Topics Emergency Preparedness & Response

2014 Performance


In 2014, hundreds of our employees and contractors participated in 371 drills, exercises and equipment deployments across our operations in North America to test and hone our readiness in the event of an incident.

More than $74 million

From 2012 to 2014, we invested more than $74 million in equipment and training to improve our company’s overall emergency preparedness and response capacity in existing operations and proposed projects.

Over 660

In Canada we carried out more than 660 visits in 2014 with municipal officials, first responders and 9-1-1 dispatchers near our liquids pipelines to build relationships and review emergency preparedness information.

More than 816,000

In the U.S., we sent more than 816,000 brochures in 2014 to key stakeholders near our pipelines, providing them with information about pipeline safety, how to recognize and respond to a pipeline emergency and ensuring they have the necessary contact information.

Emergency Response Initiatives

Following are some of the initiatives we undertook in 2014 to boost our emergency response and preparedness. For more information, see the Stakeholder Engagement section of this website.

Safe Community Program

We consider the maintenance of strong relationships with emergency responders in our areas of operation to be a priority. Part of the way we maintain these relationships is through our Safe Community Program, under which we provide grants to first responders, law enforcement agencies, firefighters, emergency medical services 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. Since the program’s inception in 2002 through to the end of 2014, our Safe Community Program grants to first responder organizations in Canada and the U.S. have totaled almost $8.5 million.  

Public Awareness Programs

As is the case with all pipeline operators in Canada and the U.S., we are required by law to have in place Public Awareness Programs (PAPs) that provide for extensive public outreach the maintenance of ongoing, informative relationships with those closest to our pipelines in order to ensure their safety. For more information, see the Stakeholder Engagement section of this website. 

Incident Command System Training

We provide Incident Command System (ICS) training to anyone who could fill a leadership and response role during an incident. Over the past three years, we have trained more than 1,000 of our employees in the ICS methodology, and continue to train more. By promoting a shared understanding of the ICS, we are helping to make our emergency response safer, more efficient and more effective.

Enbridge Enterprise Emergency Response Team

The Enbridge Enterprise Emergency Response Team (E3RT) is a cross-business-unit group trained to respond to large-scale events in North America that would require more resources than a single Enbridge operating region or business segment could provide.

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.

In November 2014, 76 members of the E3RT gathered at Fort Worth, Texas, for an emergency response drill. Hosted by GPP, the two-day exercise started with a day of training and preparations, followed by a day-long simulation of a hydrogen sulfide release from a natural gas pipeline.  The exercise simulated the release and an evacuation of residents living near the pipeline, and tested the team’s expertise using the ICS. During the drill, observers from local first responders, agencies, government and industry observed the process and got a firsthand look at how we are prepared to react in the event of a large-scale incident.

Emergency Response Exercises

In 2014, we staged 371 drills, exercises and equipment deployments across our company to help us prepare to respond safely and effectively in the event of an incident.

Our approach to emergency preparedness is comprehensive and transparent. Our exercises involve hundreds of employees, contractors and third-party observers, such as regulators, public officials and first-response agencies.

Indian River Emergency Response Exercise

On September 17, 2014, we coordinated a multi-agency emergency response exercise along the Indian River in Cheboygan County, Michigan.

The full-scale exercise, situated along our Line 5 crude oil pipeline on the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, involved crews respond to a simulated emergency caused by a third-party contractor striking the pipeline while performing maintenance work.  As part of the exercise, an Enbridge Incident Management team activated an incident command post such that they could practice Incident Command System skills to manage the simulated response.

More than 18 months in the planning, this emergency exercise involved more than 300 Enbridge representatives, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Michigan Department of Environmental Management, the Great Lakes Commission, and local emergency responders. The exercise tested our ability to carry out equipment deployment on water, public notification, and protection of water intakes and public parks, and educated first responders on pipeline emergencies.

Emergency Responder Education Program

Since 2012, we have offered the Emergency Responder Education Program (EREP) to first responders to train them 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 (NASFM) developed.

Available online to more than 8,000 emergency response organizations in the U.S. and Canada, EREP uses 3D interactive graphics to show how our operations work. It includes information on the ICS and on how we would work with emergency responders in the event of an emergency. In addition, it includes tactics and practice scenarios to help first responders visualize potential response scenarios.

By the end of 2014, almost 1,000 emergency responders, Enbridge employees and other interested parties had completed the program.

911 Dispatch Module

Our 911 Dispatch Module, which we developed in partnership with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and rolled out in 2014, is an on-line, interactive training module aimed at helping 911 dispatch and call centre personnel respond to pipeline emergencies. The module includes background on how to initiate a safe and effective response to a pipeline emergency, how to recognize leak indicators, how to contact pipeline operators, and how to relay information to emergency responders and the public. In 2014, 965 dispatch and call centre personnel, emergency responders, Enbridge employees and other interested parties completed the module (807 U.S. and 158 Canadian).

Natural Gas Awareness Program

In 2014, GD worked closely with Union Gas to train about 1,073 first responders in Ontario, mostly firefighters, through its first responder natural gas awareness program. GD also partnered with Union Gas and the Ontario Police College to supply information materials to new police recruits on what to do during a natural gas emergency.

Training for Employees who Hold Non-Operational Roles

With a workforce of more than 11,000 across North America, our employees play a vital role in pipeline safety and emergency response. In late 2014, we developed an online course to provide emergency response training for employees who hold non-operational roles, but who could be called upon to play a supporting role in an emergency.

The course, which we will launch in 2015, provides background on:

  • 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
  • The role of emergency responders in an incident

This course will ensure that employees receive a consistent level of emergency response training.

We also provide advanced training regarding ICS, hazardous waste operations and emergency response to employees who are responsible for day-to-day operations and who would be directly involved in responding to an incident.

Ontario Underground Infrastructure System Act

GD’s largest operational threat is third-party damage to its natural gas pipeline infrastructure. Preventing these damages improves worker and public safety and maintains the integrity of GD’s distribution assets.

A key prevention measure is to provide information about underground infrastructure to individuals interested in excavating – before they dig. To that end, GD strongly influenced the passing of the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act into law in 2012. Under this legislation, all underground utility operators are required to participate in Ontario One-Call, a call centre that provides answers to third parties wanting to excavate for any reason in Ontario, with just one call. Ontario was the first of Canada’s provinces and territories to pass such legislation. Since the implementation of the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Act, GD has experienced a 24 per cent increase in locate requests from third-party excavators, which has supported its initiative to prevent damages and improve worker and public safety. This legislation is key to driving the desired safety behaviours within the excavation stakeholder community and supports our damage prevention programs.

High Risk Excavation Program

In 2014, GD also implemented a High Risk Excavation Program under which its damage prevention inspectors engage with contractors involved with deep excavation. This engagement, along with GD’s core programs has resulted in a 10 per cent decrease in damages per 1,000 locates from 2013 to 2014.

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, 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.

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.  We sponsor training opportunities and, in some cases, take part as presenters.

In 2014, we advanced a number of collaborative initiatives through industry associations:

  • On September 24, we partnered with other pipeline companies in a joint emergency management exercise in Edmonton that was organized by the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA). The event tested, for the first time, the mutual emergency assistance agreement signed by CEPA members in November 2013. The agreement formalized the industry practice of sharing human resources, equipment and tools between companies in the event of a significant pipeline incident.
  • GD, working with members of the Canadian Gas Association (CGA), took an active role in developing a national natural gas awareness program for first response agencies. Starting in 2015, gas distribution companies will deliver the CGA-endorsed program to local fire and police departments across Canada. GD was also a key partner in revising and enhancing the CGA’s mutual assistance program based on its experience responding to the recovery of a New York natural gas distribution system that Hurricane Sandy severely damaged in 2012.
  • GD became an associate member of the Northeast Gas Association. Membership gives GD access to additional staffing and resources from nearby U.S. gas utilities in the event of a major emergency on its natural gas distribution system.