Emergency Response

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

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Though rare emergencies can occur, Chesapeake has an established emergency response plan, and our operations personnel are prepared to respond and manage an emergency should one arise. We work closely with local emergency responders to provide education about our operations and how to respond in the unlikely event of an emergency.

If an emergency occurs, our personnel will respond immediately and:

  • Locate the emergency site and stop or reduce flow of the product to the area
  • Work with the appropriate public safety officials and first responders
  • Repair the facility and restore service as soon as possible
  • Fully investigate the cause of the incident to prevent similar events from recurring

Working with Emergency Responders

During an emergency, the actions taken by emergency responders are critical to protecting lives, property and the environment. Some examples of emergency response agencies include fire departments, law enforcement, public safety and emergency planning and management. As a responder to an emergency situation, you should:

  1. Assess the situation
    • Identify the pipeline type and product
    • Safety considerations
    • Exposures and environmental conditions
    • Potential for the situation to escalate
    • Determine the wind direction and approach with caution
    • Eliminate all ignition sources
  2. Protect people
    • Evacuate or shelter the location to isolate the public
    • Secure the area and deny entry to unauthorized personnel
  3. Work with the pipeline operator
    • Notify the pipeline operator
    • Relate as much information as possible to the operator
    • Allow only trained pipeline personnel to close valves
  4. Control the release
    • If there is a leak
      • Contact the operator BEFORE taking action
      • Be conscious of flammability and toxicity hazards
    • If gas vapor is present
      • Do NOT ignite the vapor cloud
      • Be aware of structures that are ventilated by force
    • If there is a fire
      • Let the primary fire burn
      • Wait for the pipeline operator to shut off the flow of gas
      • Address any secondary areas of concern

​As part of our robust ERP, employees are trained following 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 are also trained in NIMS level 200 and to the operations level of Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. This additional training provides employees with a clear understanding of their responsibilities in an emergency, along with a consistent, Chesapeake-mandated procedure to follow. The training also facilitates more effective communications with emergency response personnel.    

In addition to emergency response 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 HSER, security, geology, drilling, completions and production employees who are ready to respond in the event of an emergency. Chesapeake hosts unannounced LERT trainings at least twice a year, during which tabletop exercises are done to simulate actual events. In 2019, 248 attendees participated in 15 tabletop exercises to better prepare them should an incident occur. 

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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. ​​