The most critical and responsible emergency management strategy is to prevent an incident from occurring. However, if there’s an incident, such as a pipeline release or a fire, Trans Mountain is prepared to respond quickly with detailed emergency procedures and trained professionals.

How to Identify a Potential Pipeline Emergency

Although rare, pipeline spills require immediate action and caution. If you notice any of the following, or suspect a pipeline emergency, please immediately call 911 and the Trans Mountain Emergency line at 1.888.876.6711. Emergency information is also noted on all our pipeline markers located along the pipeline right-of-way.


  • A strong petroleum odour (like gasoline or diesel fuel)
  • Strong sulphur smell (like rotten eggs)


  • Dead or discoloured vegetation
  • Isolated vapour or mist clouds
  • Pools of liquid when the rest of the right-of-way is dry
  • Petroleum sheen on water
  • Dense fog-like plumes or frost balls


  • Unusual hissing or roaring sound

Top Safety Tips for the Public in the Event of a Pipeline Emergency

Listed below are eight things you should and should not do in the event of a pipeline emergency:

  • DO leave the area by foot immediately. Do not try to locate the source of the odor or leak. Try to direct other individuals to leave the area. Attempt to stay upwind.
  • DO call 911 or your local emergency service provider.
  • DO call Trans Mountain as the owner of the pipeline. The Emergency Number for Trans Mountain is 1-888-876-6711.
  • DO NOT attempt to operate any pipeline valves yourself. You may inadvertently route more product to the leak or cause a secondary incident.
  • DO NOT ring doorbells to notify others of the release. Knock with your hand to avoid a potential spark from metal knockers.
  • DO NOT drive into the release location or into any vapor clouds while leaving the area.
  • DO NOT create an open flame or any other potential source of ignition such as an electrical switch, vehicle ignition, light a match, etc. Do not start motor vehicles or electrical equipment.
  • DO NOT attempt to extinguish any fires associated with the pipeline release. Wait for the Fire Department and other emergency professionals trained to deal with such emergencies.

Once the extent of the pipeline emergency has been determined, local governments – in conjunction with First Responders – can decide which response actions may be required. In addition to Trans Mountain’s detailed Emergency Response Plans, local governments also have their own all-hazard emergency management plans that describe clearly how people, property and the environment will be protected in an emergency. We suggest you become familiar with your community and/or regional emergency management plan so you know how you will be communicated with should an emergency occur. In BC click here, in AB click here and in WA click here.

The most common immediate response actions for pipeline emergencies are: Move away from the impacted area AND Shelter-In-Place (stay indoors) or Evacuate. The decision to shelter-in-place or evacuate is based upon multiple factors including:

  • type and/or amount of product released
  • location of the release
  • potential exposure to the release during evacuation
  • anticipated duration of the emergency and
  • advice from Trans Mountain personnel

Always be sure to stay away and upwind of the emergency site until your local government authority has determined next steps. 

To learn about our Emergency Management Program click here.