Emergency crews were on scene at a Fort Saskatchewan chemical plant on Tuesday (Sept.18) after hearing reports of a pipeline leak.
Crews knew ahead of time that the breach at Chemtrade Logistics wasn’t real. The mock pipeline leak was part of a training exercise that saw the plant testing out its updated emergency response plan.
The Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department and local RCMP took part in the exercise, heading out to the plant along with emergency response crews and vehicles from Sherritt and Dow.
Dow and Sherritt are members of the Northeast Region Community Awareness Emergency Response (NRCAER) mutual aid team. NCAER’s mutual aid responders are called in to emergencies when onsite crews and local fire departments need more help.
“Specifically, we wanted to confirm our site emergency response protocols and how our people coordinate with Fort Saskatchewan Fire. They did a great job,” said Hassan Halbouni, plant manager at Chemtrade. “Escalating the scenario to activate NRCAER and involving our mutual aid partners provided the opportunity for more responders to practice, and that benefits everyone.”
Fort Saskatchewan deputy fire chief Paul Prevost said that training exercises give municipal and industrial partners a chance to work together as they refine their skills.
“On Tuesday all of us got to use skills and equipment that we train on continually. As an emergency manager and instructor, that’s a big deal," he said.
NRCAER is a mutual aid emergency response organization formed in 1991 that plans and trains for emergencies in a 700 sq km area. Its members include emergency management professionals, pipeline companies, chemical transporters and area municipalities.
Chemtrade has two plants in Fort Saskatchewan. The company produces and supplies sulphur-enhanced chemicals for the pulp and paper and oil and gas industries and water treatment chemicals for municipalities and industries throughout western Canada.