Posts Tagged ‘state fire commissioner’

PIOGA Extends Support of Emergency Responder Training with Additional $25,000 Donation and Industry Expertise

Pennsylvania Fire Academy Continues to Deliver Training Developed in Partnership with PIOGA Safety Committee

WEXFORD, Pa. (Oct. 18) –  The Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA) today announced the commitment of an additional  $25,000 to support the  Pennsylvania Fire Academy’s Marcellus Shale Resources and Training program, a joint effort of industry, the State Fire Commissioners’ office and emergency responders around the Commonwealth.

Through the group’s collective expertise, the program has already prepared more than 3,000 emergency responders for oilfield events in areas where Marcellus Shale gas development is taking place in the Commonwealth.

“I am pleased PIOGA is committed to the safety of Pennsylvania’s first responders. These funds will ensure that we can continue with the training program developed last fall through a partnership with the Marcellus Industry,’’ State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann said. “The training provides a basic understanding of the potential hazards first responders could face in the event of such an emergency.’’

PIOGA President and Executive Director Louis D. D’Amico said his organization’s safety committee will continue to provide the subject matter knowledge and experience needed to maintain the most up-to-date curriculum for drill site safety and emergency response training.

“Consistent with our industry partners, PIOGA continues to place safety as its number one priority.  The growing expanse of Marcellus development, along with the corresponding increase in Pennsylvanians working in and around drilling sites, means emergency preparedness and stringent safety policies must be engrained in every facet of our operations,” D’Amico stated.

“As we share best practices to create the most advanced emergency response procedures in the industry, we must also share in making the wise investment necessary to keep the Pennsylvania’s Fire Academy’s program intact.  I encourage all of our industry colleagues to contribute to this proven and much-needed initiative,” he added.


PIOGA safety committee members worked with professional firefighters and emergency personnel to create the first of several training modules on different response scenarios at drilling locations.   The committee continues to work with those organizations to allow the program to keep pace with new developments in the industry.

To learn more or schedule training – go to “Well Site Emergency for First Responders” training


Panel to hold forum on drilling preparedness

Pa. Senate committee hearing on gas drilling will be held June 29 in Harrisburg.


The state Senate panel that oversees emergency preparedness in the state will hear testimony later this month on how ready responders are to handle catastrophes related to natural-gas drilling.

Sen. Lisa Baker, chairwoman of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said in a press release that community groups and environmental activists are questioning whether plans to deal with well blowouts, leaks and spills are in place and detailed enough to meet the challenges posed by the increased drilling activity in the Marcellus Shale.

Baker, R-Lehman Township, said those concerns warrant the attention of lawmakers.

“Community safety, public health and water quality are put at risk if there are any holes in emergency planning. With government budgets at every level under severe strain, it is a legitimate worry that preparation and training have not kept pace with the need,” Baker said.

In the wake of a recent natural gas well blowout in Clearfield County, Baker said there are local rumblings that the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency was “either not ready or not properly engaged.

“There is a responsibility to air the situation and find the facts,” Baker said.

Aaron Shenck, executive director of the committee, said he also believes state emergency officials were not notified until several hours after the well explosion, which took about 16 hours to contain.

Shenck said a representative of PEMA and the state fire commissioner will testify at the June 29 public hearing. Baker’s office also will invite representatives from the state Department of Environmental Protection and state police.

Baker said she is equally concerned about emergency preparedness at the local level.

“The heavy truck traffic resulting from equipment and fracking (hydraulic fracturing) material being shipped in raises the possibility of collisions, turnovers and spills. We are dealing mostly with rural areas and small communities. What is the state of readiness? Is there the necessary coordination and communication between levels of government before we are tested by crisis? Are the resources immediately available when the worst happens?” Baker said.

To present testimony from a more local perspective, representatives of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, the Keystone Emergency Management Association and the Lycoming County Task Force on Marcellus Shale also will be invited, Shenck said.

Lycoming is the only Pennsylvania county in which Marcellus Shale drilling is taking place that has a task force specifically designed to address drilling-related emergencies, Shenck said.

At least one representative of the natural gas industry also will be invited to testify, Shenck said.

Copyright: Times Leader