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Fire prevention is a focus at our northern Alberta operations

Our Christina Lake operations with a clear-cut perimeter around company equipment which helps reduce potential impact from wildfires.

April 2017 – Wildfires are a fact of life when your operations are surrounded by the dense forests of northern Alberta, making planning and prevention the hallmarks of how we keep our staff and operations safe.

We have successfully met the challenge of responding to wildfires near our operations over the past several years by focusing on emergency preparedness using Alberta’s FireSmart Plan. Because our sites are not near any community-based fire departments, we have to be ready to deal with fires on our own until additional help arrives.

“We’ve learned how to prepare for these types of events,” says Kristi Soderman, Director, Process Engineering & Process Safety. “We continue to refine our approaches so that we’re always improving and working to ensure the right plans and people are in place to respond safely, quickly and appropriately.”

Some of the new measures we are taking to help enhance our response to wildfires include:

  • additional training and exercises for staff in all locations with a focus on evacuation procedures
  • a new emergency response model at our oil sands operations that can get our first responders on scene faster

Protecting our sites from wildfires

To help ensure wildfires are less likely to impact our sites, we create a perimeter of 10 to 30 metres around our operations that is kept clear of trees, brush and long grass. In addition, the site’s working areas are either gravel or exposed earth. Should there be a fire we have firefighters on site at our two oil sands operations ready to provide initial response.

When it comes to wildfire prevention we take many factors into consideration. We carefully evaluate all outdoor activities for wildfire risk and, if necessary, defer work that involves generating sparks or high heat until conditions improve.

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