New Brunswick

Brunswick Pipeline mock emergency drill strengthens response

Brunswick Pipeline staged a mock disaster in Saint John on Thursday morning in an ongoing effort to make sure emergency responders are prepared in the event of an actual disaster.

Company, police, fire and ambulance services all participated in simulated emergency in Saint John

Police and fire vehicles, and ambulances gather at the scene of a mock emergency held by Brunswick Pipeline. (Jericho Knopp/CBC)

Brunswick Pipeline staged a mock disaster in Saint John on Thursday morning in an ongoing effort to make sure emergency responders are prepared in the event of an actual disaster.

The Saint John Regional Correctional Centre was filled with ambulances, fire trucks and police vans.

A mock emergency response is conducted once a year to prepare for potential accidents that could occur.

In this case, there were no sirens and no injuries. There was no natural gas and no commotion.

In fact, if it weren't for the fact that the City of Saint John had put out a press release, people may not have even noticed what was happening.

But even though there was no accident, Stacey Pineau, community relations co-ordinator for Emera New Brunswick, said these operations are vital for making sure that if there were an accident, everybody would know what to do.

Stacey Pineau, community relations co-ordinator for Emera New Brunswick, said mock accidents are important to prepare first responders for a potential disaster. (Jericho Knopp/CBC)
"The purpose is to test our emergency response and procedures, so that in the unlikely event that there's some kind of incident that occurs with the pipeline, we'll be ready," she said.

"All of our practices will be tested and people will be familiar with working with one another and people will be more prepared with what we need to do."

There is a slightly different fake emergency each year, but this year's was a gas leak that caused a fire.

The "leak" was caused by a hypothetical person who accidentally punctured the pipeline by "taking a backhoe on a joy ride.

She said the puncturing of the pipeline is one of the most likely events that could occur, although she said it is extremely unlikely that it will happen.

To avoid this possibility, Emera New Brunswick encourages people to call the hotline before they dig, so there is no chance of hitting pipe.

It is estimated that 25 people were involved in the emergency planning, many of them cooped up in the emergency response trailer talking through the steps that would need to be taken.

Afterwards there was a formal debrief about what went well and what could be improved.

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