Despite adequate safety equipment, monitoring and maintenance activities as well as integrity programs, there might still occur some damage at pipelines which generate spillages. Most of these are caused by third party activities or by mechanical failures and some by corrosion. This requires an emergency planning. In Germany this is an obligation requested by authorities as part of the pipeline and tank farm permit. Pipeline Operators have to be well prepared to set up organisational, technical and material measures. Together with the support of police, fire fighting departments and THW (Federal Agency for Technical Relief) as well as authority experts and country-wide organisations TAL has developed an “emergency plan” with detailed descriptions for all necessary measures.
This emergency plan describes all internal and external activities of engaged people, their availability and competence!
Based on experience of several decades of safe pipeline operation and ongoing activities in technical development (related to state of the art) one finds information like general aspects, emergency call numbers, on-call duty systems, different maps, important environmental areas and emergency equipment.
Sometimes such organisational issues are still not enough. Regular exercises, in practice onsite as well as in the official control rooms (for tactical, communicational and advisory matters) as well as recurrent training with the qualified and executive persons are mandatory. Independent from the above mentioned issues an internal crisis plan is helpful. For the own enterprise it must be clarified which executive managers have to deal with which duties, who is responsible for public affairs and for the communication within the own structure and with the shareholders. It is recommended to perform a yearly training for the crisis plan as well. As a basic principal the lessons learned from all above mentioned exercises must be summarised and should be considered in the revision of the appropriate emergency plans. In addition an experience exchange with other pipeline operators as well as with national organisations is helpful. It is unknown which scenarios will really occur but very well organized emergency plans will help to deal with an incident in the most effective way and will support all actors in their own safe and structured approach.