Our emergency procedures require employees to respond to all incidents quickly, with safety as the top priority. Procedures are guided by our Emergency Response Plan (ERP), which provides employees with the framework and action steps critical for responding to incidents in a safe, effective and efficient manner.
In the case of a high-level incident, Chesapeake deploys its Emergency Preparedness and Response group comprised of individuals trained in emergency planning and incident response management.
As part of our robust ERP, employees are trained using the same management system used by emergency responders from firefighters to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The National Incident Management System (NIMS), a nationwide incident response template, enables Chesapeake to work cooperatively with local, state and federal agencies in the event of an emergency, regardless of location. NIMS also allows for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel and communications to create common processes for planning and managing resources. This integration and collaboration expedites the emergency response.
While many companies train their employees in NIMS level 100, Chesapeake takes extra precautions. Field employees and onsite contractors are also trained in NIMS level 200 and to the operations level of Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. This additional training provides employees and contractors with a clear understanding of their responsibilities in an emergency and a consistent, Chesapeake-mandated procedure to follow. The training also allows for more effective communications with emergency response personnel.
Beyond NIMS, we train specialized teams of employees — Local Emergency Response Teams (LERT) — on how to assume command and control of an incident. LERT training occurs twice a year and includes tabletop exercises to simulate actual events. Currently eight teams, made up of EHS, drilling, completions and production employees across all of our operating areas, are highly trained and ready to respond in the event of an emergency. During a two-year time period (2014 to 2016), nearly 350 attendees participated in 32 tabletop exercises to better prepare them should an incident occur.
We work extensively to train our employees in incident response, and we also partner with local fire and police departments to increase their capacity in the event of an emergency. Through our First Responder Outreach program, members of our Emergency Preparedness and Response group interact regularly with local responders to understand department capabilities and establish partnerships before a potential incident.
The team also offers first responder information sessions covering such topics as how the energy and production industry works, key industry terminology, potential site hazards and production site equipment, to increase the knowledge of firefighters and police officers before they arrive to an emergency. This additional education not only allows for better communication between Chesapeake and first responders, but provides valuable safety awareness for the first responders themselves.