[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 197 (Thursday, October 11, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 61826-61827]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24975]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA-2012-0201]


Pipeline Safety: Communication During Emergency Situations

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); 
DOT.

ACTION: Notice; Issuance of Advisory Bulletin.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: PHMSA is issuing this Advisory Bulletin to remind operators of 
gas, hazardous liquid, and liquefied natural gas pipeline facilities 
that operators should immediately and directly notify the Public Safety 
Access Point (PSAP) that serves the communities and jurisdictions in 
which those pipelines are located when there are indications of a 
pipeline facility emergency. Furthermore, operators should have the 
ability to immediately contact PSAP(s) along their pipeline routes if 
there is an indication of a pipeline facility emergency to determine if 
the PSAP has information which may help the operator confirm an 
emergency or to provide assistance and information to public safety 
personnel who may be responding to the event.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Gale by phone at 202-366-0434 or 
by email at john.gale@dot.gov. Information about PHMSA may be found at 
http://phmsa.dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Federal regulations for gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and 
hazardous liquid pipeline facilities require operators to have written 
procedures for responding to emergencies involving their pipeline 
facility. The regulations further require that operators include 
procedures for planning with and notifying local emergency response and 
other public officials to ensure a coordinated response. Under 49 CFR 
Sec. Sec.  192.605, 192.615, 193.2509, and 195.402, pipeline facility 
operators must include provisions for coordinating with appropriate 
fire, law enforcement, emergency management, and other public safety 
officials in their emergency plans. Immediate contact by pipeline 
facility operators with local emergency responders located in 
potentially affected areas provides for appropriate, more coordinated 
and effective response to emergency situations involving pipelines, and 
can minimize potential injury, death and environmental damage.
    Under Sec. Sec.  192.616 and 195.440, pipeline facility operators 
must also develop and implement, and sustain a written public education 
program that follows the American Petroleum Institute's (API) 
Recommended Practice (RP) 1162. Incorporated by reference into 
Sec. Sec.  192.616 and 195.440, API RP 1162 further requires operators 
to provide notice of, and information regarding their emergency 
response plans to appropriate local emergency officials. These response 
plans should include information about how emergency officials can 
determine potential pipeline related risks, and implement appropriate 
response plans.
    In addition, on December 11, 2011, the National Transportation 
Safety Board (NTSB) issued safety recommendations following its 
investigation of the September 9, 2010, natural gas pipeline rupture in 
the city of San Bruno, CA. Included in these recommendations was NTSB 
Safety Recommendation P-11-9, which suggested that PHMSA require 
operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines ``to ensure that their 
control room operators immediately and directly notify the 9-1-1 
emergency call center(s) for the communities and jurisdiction in which 
those pipelines are located when a possible rupture of any pipeline is 
indicated.'' Pipeline facility

[[Page 61827]]

operators should be proactive in notifying officials of possible 
incidents so that a suitable and timely response can be implemented.
    Finally, PHMSA is publishing this Advisory Bulletin to reiterate 
the importance of immediate dialogue between pipeline facility 
operators and PSAP staff when there is any indication of a pipeline 
rupture or other emergency condition which may have an adverse impact 
on public safety or the environment. The local PSAP may have 
information pertaining to the event that is not available to the 
pipeline facility operator. For example, a pipeline facility operator 
may be aware of a sudden pressure drop on their pipeline, but not be 
able to pinpoint the location of a release. The local PSAP may have 
received 9-1-1 calls concerning a strong odor of crude oil or fuel, or 
of a large fire, but not be aware a pipeline facility is involved. The 
early exchange and coordination of information can benefit both 
pipeline facility operators and emergency responders so that a more 
rapid and effective response to the event is achieved.

II. Advisory Bulletin (ADB-2012-09)

    To: Operators of Gas, Hazardous Liquid, and Liquefied Natural Gas 
Pipeline Facilities
    Subject: Communication During Emergency Situations
    Advisory: To further enhance the Department's safety efforts, PHMSA 
is issuing this Advisory Bulletin regarding communication between 
pipeline facility operators and the PSAP which serves the local 
emergency responders during pipeline facility emergencies in 
communities along the pipeline route.
    To ensure a prompt, effective, and coordinated response to any type 
of emergency involving a pipeline facility, pipeline facility operators 
are required to maintain an informed relationship with emergency 
responders in their jurisdiction in accordance with Sec. Sec.  192.615, 
193.2509 and 195.402.
    PHMSA reminds pipeline facility operators of these requirements 
and, in particular, the need to notify the PSAP(s), commonly referred 
to as 9-1-1 emergency call centers, or the local equivalent, of 
indications of a pipeline facility emergency. Such indications may 
include an unexpected drop in pressure, unanticipated loss of 
supervisory control and data acquisition communications, or reports 
from field personnel. PHMSA recommends that pipeline facility operators 
immediately contact the PSAP for the communities and jurisdictions in 
which those indications occur, to notify local responders and implement 
a coordinated emergency response. These notifications to the PSAP(s) 
are typically made from pipeline facility control rooms and dispatch 
centers; pipeline facility operators should ensure the call to the 
appropriate PSAP is made promptly, and to as many jurisdictions as is 
necessary. A direct-inbound ten-digit number must be used for the 
specific PSAP, since a call to 9-1-1 would be routed only to the PSAP 
for the caller's location.
    Further, PHMSA believes that immediate contact and conversation 
should be established between pipeline facility operators and PSAP 
staff when there is any indication of a pipeline rupture or other 
emergency condition which may have a potential adverse impact on public 
safety or the environment. PHMSA recommends that pipeline facility 
operators inquire of the PSAP(s) if there are any other reported 
indicators of possible pipeline emergencies such as odors, unexplained 
noises, product releases, explosions, fires, etc., as these reports may 
not have been linked to a possible pipeline incident by the callers 
contacting the 9-1-1 emergency call center. This early coordination 
will facilitate the timely and effective implementation of the pipeline 
facility operator's emergency response plan and coordinated response 
with local public safety officials.

Jeffrey D. Wiese,
Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety.
[FR Doc. 2012-24975 Filed 10-10-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P