Transmission Pipeline Response Checklist

Transmission pipeline incidents are unique events that call for specific response tactics. Use this checklist to help reduce risk for
other responders and the public.

  1. Approach the scene with caution from an upwind direction. Look for indication of a leak, fire or explosion and clues that a pipeline is involved.
  2. Secure the scene to prevent people from entering the hazard zone.
  3. Utilize the DOT Emergency Response Guidebook for initial response guidance.
  4. Designate an Incident Commander (IC).
  5. Employ the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
  6. Identify the scope and potential hazards associated with this event.
  7. Effect rescue and evacuation to the extent possible.
  8. Never allow first responders to operate pipeline valves.
  9. Contact the pipeline control center, which should be identified by pre-emergency planning, or as noted on the pipeline markers.
  10. Recognize that your goal is to minimize the level of risk to other responders, the community and the environment during the multiple operational periods expected of an incident of this nature.
  11. Access and utilize the pipeline operator’s emergency response plan.
  12. Do not enter the immediate hazard area.
  13. Utilize the ERG to establish isolation zones. Evacuation distances must be at least 330 feet. Based on the high volume and pressure utilized in transmission pipelines, these distances typically range from 800 to 4,492 feet but may be elongated depending on weather conditions.
  14. Let the primary fire continue to burn until the pipeline operator controls the fuel supply.
  15. Establish a command post and upwind staging areas.
  16. Activate additional resources appropriate to the magnitude of the response.
  17. Systematically utilize combustible gas indicators (CGIs) to establish the extent of vapor travel.
  18. Eliminate ignition sources.
  19. If ignition has not occurred, cut electricity from outside of the hazard area.
  20. Evacuate residents starting with those downwind of the event.
  21. Utilize reverse 911 systems to evacuate occupants in immediate danger, instruct those beyond immediate danger to shelter in place, and provide informational updates.
  22. Do not fight fires fed by natural gas. Cool exposures and extinguish fires only after the fuel source has dissipated and the pipeline operator confirms control.
  23. If necessary, use fog streams for limited vapor control.
  24. Integrate actions with your community’s comprehensive emergency management plan (CEMP), and consider the activation of a local emergency operations center (EOC).

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