Tom Henderson says that TransCanada has been a part of his life for longer than he can remember.
“My history with pipelines goes back to my childhood,” says the fire chief of Englehart, Ontario. “I still remember when TransCanada came to build the Canadian Mainline near a creek where I used to swim with my friends. We would go near the trenches and look at the workers lay the pipe in the ground.”
Then as a young fire fighter, Tom started working with TransCanada.
Our teams have been collaborating with local first responders in Englehart for nearly 40 years, drawing on their local knowledge, and training with them on a regular basis to ensure that everyone knows what to do if a pipeline incident happened.
Because we propose to convert a section of the Canadian Mainline to oil transportation for the Energy East Pipeline, we have, in recent months, gone back to Englehart and many other communities along the proposed project route with another purpose – preparing emergency response plans (ERPs) that are specific to an oil pipeline and take local requirements into consideration.
Some organizations think they know best. We don’t take local knowledge for granted.
“We engage local first responders and emergency services to help us develop these plans,” says Niki, who is a senior emergency management specialist at TransCanada. “They are our partners in pipeline safety and we need to ensure that our response plans are aligned and that we understand each other’s roles and responsibilities in an emergency.”
ERPs describe the procedures and resources used to conduct an efficient and coordinated response to an emergency in order to protect and mitigate impacts to the public and responders, property and the environment. These plans, currently under development, will be regularly reviewed and validated in response exercises on the ground with our highly-trained staff and first responders.
TransCanada is responsible for planning and handling pipeline emergencies. We work with first responders to review processes and the specialized equipment we will store in various locations all along the pipeline route, and we ensure they are trained to respond to an emergency.
“TransCanada has certainly filled its role well, making us aware of the potential dangers and providing us with the training we need to save time and efforts and do the job property if anything happens,” Tom says.
Our company never takes safety for granted. And pipeline safety will remain our number one priority for Energy East too. This is how serious we are about preparing for all aspects of this critical project for our country.