Fire, sirens, traffic control and emergency personnel were all on scene in Taylor for a mock emergency exercise that put first responders’ skills to the test on Wednesday.
Members of the Taylor Industrial Mutual Aid Group (TIMAG)—which includes the District of Taylor, Spectra Energy, Pembina Pipeline, Alliance Pipeline, Canfor, AltaGas, RCMP, and the BC Ambulance Service—were all on site, as well as other agencies who would respond in the event of catastrophe.
The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, School District 60, BC Hydro, CN Rail and more were all part of the mock scenario, the details of which unfolded as the morning progressed.
“Some vehicles are arriving on scene, and so you can observe from here that those rail cars are on fire. We’re assessing right now what is in the rail cars,” said Alan Clay, communications consultant for the purpose of the exercise.
“You can see crews are going through the various numbers on the rail cars to find out what’s inside the rail cars. They are obviously on fire, so right now we’re trying to find out to what extent the rail cars are damaged, and whether or not the product inside those rail cars is leaking.”
Part of the staged catastrophe involved a wood chip truck that tipped over near the scene and also caught fire. Adding fuel to the already major disaster was the fact that one of the pipelines had—hypothetically, of course—ruptured.
Brian Lamond, site controller and manager of emergency preparedness and security at Spectra Energy, told media that while staged exercises like this are important, there haven’t been any major industrial occurrences locally.
“It’s really important for people to test their actions in an emergency situation, so when, and if, the real situation happens, they’ll have had an opportunity to go through what their roles and responsibilities will be and to interact with people and really, as you can see by the number of people that are here, we need to know one another when it happens,” he said.
“That’s part of what we do with TIMAG, is we meet every two months and we talk about what’s going on in the community... within the area, and we get that interaction between all the representatives and all the different TIMAG members.”
All local residents and organizations had been informed of the emergency exercise.