When managing an emergency, protecting lives and the environment requires a concerted team effort with local emergency responders. Williams has a long history of emergency preparedness and we routinely work with local emergency responders and planning agencies to ensure safe operations of our facilities.
Company representatives meet regularly with firefighters, emergency management officials, law enforcement officers, public officials and planning agencies to review emergency response procedures and conduct annual emergency response drills. Safety drills, also known as tabletops, address how to respond in the event of an emergency and the essential steps to ensure public safety.
Everyone can contribute to safety and security by knowing where pipelines are in their communities and how to recognize unauthorized activity or abnormal conditions. One of the greatest single challenges to safe pipeline operations is the accidental damage caused by excavation, construction, farming activities — or even homeowner construction and maintenance. Awareness is crucial in preventing pipeline accidents.
By working together, we can reduce third-party damage to the pipeline, prevent accidents and maintain public safety. Call us immediately if you see suspicious activity and/or unauthorized construction near the pipeline right-of-way. No one should conduct blasting, digging, ditching, drilling, leveling or plowing near the pipeline right-of-way without contacting the local one-call center at least 48 hours in advance to have underground utilities marked.
How does the pipeline operator respond to an emergency?
We will immediately dispatch personnel to the site to help handle the emergency and to provide information to emergency responders. We will also take the necessary operating actions — starting and stopping equipment, closing and opening valves, and other steps — to minimize the impact of the leak.
Emergency Responder and Public Official Information
Here are a few suggestions for keeping the public safe in the event of a pipeline emergency:
- Secure the area around the leak to a safe distance. This could include the evacuation of people from homes, businesses, schools, nursing homes, and other locations. Use barricades to limit access.
- If the pipeline leak is not burning, take steps to prevent ignition. Prohibit smoking, reroute traffic and shut off the electricity and residential gas supply.
- Contact the pipeline company as quickly as possible. Pipeline marker signs show the pipeline company’s name, emergency telephone number and pipeline contents.
- If you are unfamiliar with the pipeline involved in the emergency, do not attempt to operate any of the valves on the pipeline. Improper operation of the valves could worsen the situation and cause other accidents to happen.
If you are an emergency responder or public official and would like more information about pipeline safety, emergency response drills, training, emergency response plans, integrity management plans, or maps, please e-mail WilliamsContact@williams.com or call 800-WILLIAMS (800-945-5426).