Today, Trans Mountain conducted a full-scale emergency response exercise to demonstrate Trans Mountain’s ability to effectively manage a spill response event should one occur in Burrard Inlet at Westridge Marine Terminal. The drill included a coordinated response with more than 150 virtual and in-person participants from two Indigenous communities and 10 agencies, including the Canada Energy Regulator, Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada and Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC), working collaboratively to ensure an efficient and effective response.

The full-scale exercise provided an opportunity for response personnel to demonstrate and practice both land and water-based training, including the deployment of equipment and response vessels within Burrard Inlet at Westridge Marine Terminal. This exercise also provided an opportunity to practice the implementation of the Westridge Marine Terminal Emergency Response Plan under COVID-19 safety protocols.

“Our top priority is always the safety of the communities where we operate. We have adapted some of our emergency management approaches during COVID-19, including enhanced safety protocols and transitioning some functions to a virtual platform” says Kelly Malinoski, Trans Mountain’s Director of Emergency Management. “Our teams continually review, revise, practice our emergency response capabilities and share our plans with parties who could be involved in emergency response and with our community stakeholders.”

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all participants were required to follow detailed COVID-19 safety protocols. The exercise had a small in-person deployment at Westridge Marine Terminal and a hybrid Incident Command Post (ICP) with a contingent of the Incident Management team working in-person locally and a larger number of participants working remotely. Several agencies, stakeholders, first responders and regulators participated in the hybrid ICP and in the integrated response alongside Trans Mountain personnel.

“Today’s exercise is another opportunity for our crews to execute our response plans for Vancouver Harbour,” says Lee Hammond, WCMRC’s Director of Operations. “In addition to containment and recovery tactics, we have also developed detailed shoreline protection strategies for the area.”

In-person participants were required to complete individual health screening with temperature checks, physical distancing, enhanced personal protection equipment (PPE) including mask wearing, and ensuring that each participant completed a Trans Mountain COVID-19 self-declaration form affirming their physical well-being.

Trans Mountain ensures all employees and contractors receive the training necessary to protect themselves, the public, local communities and the environment in the event of an emergency. Formal training reinforced by regular emergency response exercises is key to maintaining our response readiness. Trans Mountain is required to have an Emergency Management Program that anticipates, prevents, manages and mitigates conditions during the unlikely event of an emergency. Each year, we conduct more than 20 emergency response exercises, equipment deployment drills and training opportunities that are evaluated by regulatory agencies.

A full-scale exercise is defined as a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional activity involving the mobilization and actual movement of emergency personnel, equipment and resources, as if a real incident had occurred.