May 17, 2016

CALL INTAKE: Pipeline Emergencies Script

Dispatchers are often the first notified, and the actions taken by Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) personnel are critical to the protection of life, property and the environment; however, many dispatch systems do not include protocols for handling intakes for pipeline emergencies.

On November 11, 2010, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) published Document 56-0007, NENA Pipeline Emergency Operations Standard/Model Recommendation, a document developed by the Pipeline Emergency Operations Workgroup. This workgroup was comprised of representatives from NENA, 911 offices, pipeline operators and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

The establishment of structured call-taking protocols, scalable pre-planned response and agency-approved Pre-Arrival instructions can greatly increase public safety and reduce the chances of a situation worsening before HAZMAT teams or pipeline operators arrive. According to Document 56-0007, all agencies designated as a PSAP or operating as an Emergency Communication Center (ECC) shall establish and maintain operational procedures to address awareness of pipelines located in the 9-1-1 Service Area, recognition of pipeline leaks, initial response actions and additional notifications that may be necessary.

The following protocol is intended as a framework for call intake, but should not in any manner rescind or override agency procedures for the timing of broadcasts and messaging. These procedures are established as recommended practices to consider with existing agency policy to ensure the swiftest and most accurate handling of every incident involving the release of dangerous gases or hazardous liquids.  Before an agent is able to effectively handle a pipeline leak call in-take, it is necessary to be properly trained on the signs of a potential pipeline leak

1.  Obtain and verify incident location, callback and contact information
  • Request exact location of the incident (structure addresses, street names, intersections, directional identifiers, mile posts, etc.)
  • Confirm callback, contact and caller information.
  • Ask: When did the emergency occur, or when did you notice the emergency?
  • Get a description of the emergency and actions that have been taken.

2.  Maintain control of the call

3.  Communicate YOUR ability to HELP the caller

4.  Methodically and strategically obtain information through systematic inquiry, capturing BY your agency’s intake format

Determine if the caller is in IMMEDIATE danger.

If the caller is inside a building and is reporting that there is a strong odor inside the building, like rotten eggs or a burnt match, the caller is in IMMEDIATE danger.

Instruct Caller to:

  1. Immediately evacuate the building.
  2. Avoid any action that might create a spark:
    1. Do not start a vehicle -- abandon all vehicles and mechanized equipment
    2. Do not turn on or off lights
    3. Do not open or close windows
    4. Do not attempt to shut off any building appliances, valves, equipment, etc.
    5. Do not carry a phone or hang up a corded or cordless phone -- carefully set it down on a flat surface while still on a call
    6. Do not use a cell phone until you are in a safe location away from the leak
  3. Evacuate the building and walk at least two (2) city blocks, or approximately 1,000 feet away, in an upwind direction if possible. DO NOT HANG UP THE PHONE. Just set it down.
  4. If possible, alert others to evacuate the building and keep others away. Wait for responders to arrive.
  5. If the situation worsens or changes in any way, and it is safe for the caller to do so, call 9-1-1 again. 

If the caller is within two (2) city blocks, or approximately 1,000 feet, of a large white vapor cloud that may look like smoke, a loud roaring sound like a jet engine coming from the ground, a large pool or liquids that smell like petroleum or gasoline, dirt blowing from a small hole in the ground with a hissing or whistling noise, or a large outside area where the odor of rotten eggs or a burnt match is strong, the caller is in IMMEDIATE danger.

Instruct Caller to:

  1. Avoid any action that might create a spark:
    1. Do not start a vehicle -- abandon all vehicles and mechanized equipment
    2. Do not turn on or off lights
    3. Do not open or close windows
    4. Do not attempt to shut off any building appliances, valves, equipment, etc.
    5. Do not carry a phone or hang up a corded or cordless phone -- carefully set it down on a flat surface while still on a call
    6. Do not use a cell phone until you are in a safe location away from the leak
  2. Evacuate the area on foot and walk at least four (4) city blocks, or approximately 2,500 feet. Move away from the leak in an upwind and uphill direction if possible.
  3. If possible, alert others to evacuate the building and keep others away. Wait for responders to arrive.
  4. If the situation worsens or changes in any way, and it is safe for the caller to do so, call 9-1-1 again.

 

If the caller is within one (1) city block, or approximately 500 feet, of an area of dead vegetation, an unusual area of melted snow in the winter, an area of frozen ground in the summer, a sheen on the surface of water, bubbling in pools of water on the ground, a small area of wet ground with an odor like petroleum liquids or gasoline, or an outside area where there is a faint odor like rotten eggs or a burnt match, these are POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SITUATIONS that may escalate. 

Instruct Caller to:

  1. Confirm callback information.
  2. Stay at least 300 feet, or a football field away if outside. Keep others away. OR Stay inside and close windows.
  3. Wait for responders to arrive. Do NOT attempt to shut off any building appliances, valves, equipment, etc.
  4. If the situation worsens or changes in any way, and it is safe for the caller to do so, call 9-1-1 again.

5.  Recognize the urgency of situations involving the POTENTIAL release of dangerous PIPELINE gases or liquids or similar events of this nature, and immediately begin the proper notifications consistent with your agency policy.

Notify the pipeline operator. Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC’s emergency number is 1-877-267- 2290. Pipeline companies will need specific information. This may include, but is not restricted to:

  • Type of event (leak only, leak with fire, vapors, etc.)
  • Exact location (state, county, city, street address, and coordinates, if available)
  • 9-1-1 personnel contact name and phone number
  • What responding units have been dispatched to the scene
  • Local weather conditions
  • Known injuries or property damage

 Because 9-1-1 may be the most useful communication hub for responders until NIMS ICS is established, PSAP personnel should obtain additional information that might be relevant to the response. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • What additional hazards might be present at this location?
  • What specific actions will the pipeline company be taking?
  • When can pipeline company personnel be expected to arrive on scene?
  • Can this situation escalate? If so, what is the maximum potential impact?

6.  Perform all information entries and disseminations, both initial and update.

Pipeline Operator Training

Should a Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC emergency occur, the personnel who will be on scene are trained in HAZMAT response and will work in conjunction with area responders to supply technical information and assist with response efforts, including the operation of valves and other pipeline equipment, as needed. In fact, Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC may begin performing response actions remotely before pipeline personnel arrive at the scene.

Note that Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC employees are immediately available, even before they arrive on scene, to provide emergency officials with important information regarding the product transported, classification of the material(s) involved, details regarding the pipeline structure itself, potential hazards, other operators that may share an easement, and recommendations regarding best practices for protecting responders and the general public.

To better prepare your call intake staff, you can request password access and download Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC Emergency Response Plans here. Contact us for non-immediate help equipping your dispatch staff for pipeline call in-take.