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.
The ERP is built on:
- Well-trained personnel responding in a tiered approach based on incident level
- Engaged partnerships with local responders and professional emergency response contractors
- Scalable, flexible and adaptable operational capabilities
- A unified Incident Command approach and structure
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, along with a consistent, Chesapeake-mandated procedure to follow. The training also allows for more effective communications with emergency response personnel.
In 2017 we conducted 12 new emergency response training sessions in the field, specifically for onsite contractors. Although these individuals have safety training and experience, it was important to enhance their capabilities and awareness, particularly as it related to Chesapeake-specific response expectations. More than 200 participants gained a higher level of safety expertise as a result of these sessions.
In addition to these trainings, we develop and ready specialized teams of employees — Local Emergency Response Teams (LERT) — to safely and efficiently assume command and control of an incident. All of our operational areas have local LERT teams made up of highly trained EHSR, drilling, completions and production employees who are ready to respond in the event of an emergency. Chesapeake hosts LERT trainings at least twice a year, during which tabletop exercises simulate actual events. In 2017, more than 350 attendees participated in 24 tabletop exercises to better prepare them should an incident occur. This preparation is nearly double the effort of previous years.
In addition to training our onsite personnel in incident response, 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 and Operations team 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 an overview of 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.