Gas Emergency Tabletop Exercise

Gas Emergency Tabletop Exercise

November 30, 2021

The time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. That’s what emergency tabletop exercises are all about. Our Gas Department had such an exercise on November 16th.  

A group gathered and talked through a mock scenario involving a major gas leak during a bitter cold snap. Since our departments often work together when emergencies happen, joining the Gas Department in this exercise were employees from the Control Room, Customer Relations, Public Information, and Storm Team Logistics, each playing the role they would during such an emergency. 

Rather than physically taking care of a leak, the group talked through a variety of “what would you do” and “what ifs” to figure out what works well and what needs better planning. 

“The thing I liked best about this was that we were able to educate each other about our processes, what we’re capable of doing, and what we’re not,” said Director of Gas Systems Anthony Miller. “Because of this, we understand we have to go back and look at alternatives to handle some of the issues we think could arise out of an emergency during a long period of very cold temperatures.” 

Major gas leaks caused by the weather are very uncommon, which makes it all the more important to talk through how we would respond if one were to happen. Anthony said, “It’s like with hurricanes, we don’t have to do hurricane exercises because we go through them often enough and have learned so many things to improve that we know how to respond. Now do I want to have a major gas outage in the dead of winter to get better? No, but I do want us to be prepared, and the only way to be prepared is to go through these exercises.” 

Gas Planning Engineer Charles Buck, Gas Compliance Coordinator Eric Phillips, and Gas Senior Administrative Assistant Lisa Johnson created the exercise with the help of Operations Support Manager Kevin Keyzer, who facilitated the event. Gas plans to conduct exercises like this at least once a year and include outside agencies such as a local fire department. This will help ensure everyone understands the processes each other goes through and the best possible way to respond to an emergency.