The International Association of Fire Chiefs and TC Energy, formerly TransCanada Corporation, has had a successful and thriving partnership for the past seven years providing trainings, education and town halls for first responders on energy and pipeline safety within the United States and in late 2019, the partnership is expanding into Mexico.
In 2013, the IAFC and TC Energy, partnered in conjunction with the National Association of State Fire Marshalls to establish Pipeline online trainings. From there, the partnership evolved to include local townhalls sessions focused on providing information and knowledge on pipeline emergency response, which included case studies, pipeline response for emergency responders preplans, and tabletop exercises.
Currently, the program has expanded to add the Whole Community Planning for Pipeline Incidents Course, creating/updating the current Community Emergency Operations Plan to address Pipeline Incidents and additional tabletop exercises.
The Whole Communities Planning for Pipeline Incidents course is an eight-hour instructor-led training recently developed by the IAFC. It evaluates the disaster preparedness of communities and provides an in-depth explanation of how a whole community can participate in an inclusive emergency-planning process to strengthen the resilience of a community and, subsequently, of the nation. The training will encourage first responders to engage and invite non-traditional disaster nonprofits, businesses, faith-based and community organizations, infrastructure owners and operators, persons with access and functional needs, and any other interested community members in addition to traditional emergency-response organizations to participate (as well as local associations).
This training provides skills and tools to establish strong relationships for inclusivity. Additionally, the training offers an opportunity to engage the community on the types of hazardous materials that move in the community. The tabletop exercise provides a means of exercising the new or updated plans, which will ensure that the community will be able to respond to not only a pipeline incident effectively, but any incident, natural or man-made, that may occur.
Participants of the current program from Sardis, Ohio, stated that the Whole Communities program was “very informative and effective, and the instructors are very knowledgeable.” A participant also said that “the part of the training that provided the most value was the interaction among agencies and the instructor. Being able to share experiences is educational and extremely helpful.”
In late 2019, the IAFC will expand the existing TC Energy partnership into Mexico. The Mexico training will reflect the unique regulations, procedures, and resources that influence Mexico’s hazardous materials planning and response community.
The IAFC’s bilingual and culturally diverse instructors and Subject Matters Experts (SME) that represent multiple disciplines and backgrounds will,
- Perform needs analysis of hazardous materials planning and training as it related to gas pipelines and the civil protection agencies,
- Coordinate TC Energy operators with the regional civil protection agencies to review their individual capabilities
- Conduct natural gas pipeline awareness and training, and
- Create Natural Gas Pipeline Emergency Response plan(s) for TC Energy’s first responders.
For updates on the upcoming months on the IAFC and TC Energy partnership or to learn more information about the program, please email HazMatCenter@iafc.org.