Preparedness – Natural Gas Industry in Wayne County
From the early stages of the natural gas industry’s presence in Wayne County, the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has been communicating with industry officials. Our goal is to be the most prepared for emergencies developing from the gas drilling industry.
Early in the process we sought out those in the industry in safety leadership roles to develop a dialog that would lead to a greater understanding of this new industry in Wayne County. In order to respond to an incident one of the first bits of information you need is the location of the incident. This can be very difficult when dealing with industry employees who are new to the area. EMA staff will get the location from the gas industry by grids and direct those numbers to the Wayne County GIS Department for the issuance of a 911 address. The gas industry will also place a 911 sign on the road to the well site. The process is quite simple, but often overlooked. This piece of information will help in preparedness and efficient response from emergency personnel.
Along with this it is important for the emergency responders in Wayne County to have training in what can be expected when responding to emergencies at drilling locations. The EMA office has host a number of training events in 2010 for this very purpose, With more training and table top training in 2011.
Wayne County is part of an eight county task force (PEMA) from which they obtain funding and share information with other counties. Coordination between the various emergency departments here in Wayne County is very good. This is all part of maintaining public safety.
In an effort to help inform to the public of Wayne County’s EMA’s preparedness late in 2010, EMA personnel participated in a Bold Gold radio program. This program explained the fundamentals of emergency preparedness.
It is the goal of the Wayne County EMA to provide as much training for first responders as possible. This will put Wayne County ahead of the curve in regard to training first responders. Approximately 300 local first responders have already received training. The local training sessions were conducted by personnel from Wild Well Inc. with first hand experience. Local responders will benefit from shared experiences and scenarios from educators with direct experience in the field.
Well training course for first responders were held in August, September, October and December. For a description of the course, see the ‘Events’ page of the Task Force website at www.wcpaoilandgastaskforce.info/events.php.
In addition training will include a seminars dealing with spill response and emergency notification procedures are also being planned.
Future courses that are being developed include one that will be offered to local paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). The course that will likely be offered would be ‘Traumatic Injury Management’. The training could either be set up for an individual to complete online or it could be in a group setting.
For 2011 Wild Well Control, Inc. is being contacted for training sessions with the Fire Chiefs first and then subsequently the actual fire fighters later in the summer. The EMS Captains, Pennsylvania State Police and hospital emergency room staff will also be involved in these training sessions.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Regional Counter Terrorism Task Force has purchased the Cooper Notification System, which is basically a reverse 911 system. This will provide both audio and text alerts for emergency situations for those who sign up for it. The alerts can be distributed to both home phones and cellular phones. This system, which shall be implemented in the near future, will provide alerts for many different types of incidents, not just those related to the natural gas industry.