Southern Star transports natural gas in underground pipelines made of steel that vary in diameter and pressure. Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline markers will identify the product carried, the company operating the facility, and Southern Star’s Emergency Number.
You can quickly find other pipelines in your area by visiting the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS). While this is a great tool to provide a generalized location of pipelines, it should never be used for excavation purposes. For more information you can contact Southern Star’s Public Awareness Department at 1-800-281-0252 or read the latest Emergency Response Brochure.
Recognizing a pipeline leak early could save the lives of those in the area of the leak. If you discover a natural gas pipeline leak on a Southern Star facility, immediately call the Southern Star Emergency Number at 1-800-324-9696.
Responding to a Pipeline Emergency
Emergency responders should follow these guidelines to ensure the safety of those in the area if a natural gas pipeline leak is suspected or detected:
• Secure the area around the leak to a safe distance. Because vapors from the products carried in pipelines can migrate great distances, it is important to remove all ignition sources from the area. Keep in mind, Highly Volatile Liquid (HVL) vapors are heavier than air and can collect in low areas such as ditches, sewers, etc. If it is safe, evacuating people from homes, businesses, schools and other places of congregation, as well as controlling access to the site may be required in some incident scenarios. Sheltering in place may be the safest action if the circumstances make going outdoors dangerous.
• If the pipeline leak is not burning, DO NOT cause any open flame or other potential source of ignition such as an electrical switch, a vehicle ignition, a burning match, etc. DO NOT start motor vehicles or electrical equipment. DO NOT ring doorbells. Knock with your hand to avoid potential sparks from knockers. DO NOT drive into a leak or vapor cloud at any time.
• If the pipeline leak is burning, attempt to control the spread of the fire, but DO NOT attempt to extinguish a petroleum product or natural gas fire. When extinguished, petroleum products, gas and vapor could collect and explode if reignited by secondary fire.
• DO NOT attempt to operate any pipeline valves yourself. You may inadvertently route more product to the leak or cause a secondary incident.
• Establish a command center. Work with pipeline representatives as you develop a plan to address the emergency. The pipeline operator will need to know:
• Your contact information and the location of the emergency
• Size, characteristics and behavior of the incident, and if there are any primary or secondary fires
• Any injuries or deaths
• The proximity of the incident to any structures, buildings, etc.
• Any environmental concerns such as bodies of water, grasslands, endangered wildlife and fish, etc.
• Evacuate or shelter in place. Depending on the level of chemical, natural gas, or product, and whether or not the product was released, or other variables, it may be necessary to evacuate the public or have the public shelter in place. Evacuation routes and the location of the incident will determine which procedure is required, but both may be necessary. Evacuate people upwind of the incident if necessary. Involving the pipeline company may be important in making this decision.
Emergency Response Capabilities
It is important for Southern Star to understand your organization’s capabilities for responding to a pipeline incident so that we can better enhance emergency preparedness and response planning. This is very important for communities with pipeline infrastructure. Please visit the Pipeline Association for Public Awareness (PAPA) Emergency Response Capability Database Reporting Tool to enter your information.
Public Awareness Training
Southern Star wants to help your emergency response organization prepare your personnel and ours for the unlikely event there is a pipeline incident. The Pipeline Association for Public Awareness (PAPA) provides online training materials and information that your organization can use for free. In particular, you can find out more information about response guidelines, the basics of pipelines, and many different training scenarios on the PAPA Training Website.
While these materials are a great resource for information and training purposes, they should be considered a supplement to your actual emergency response training, knowledge and sound judgment. If your organization would like to schedule a joint emergency response training with Southern Star, please contact Southern Star’s Public Awareness Department at 1-888-885-6008 for more details.
SOUTHERN STAR CENTRAL GAS PIPELINE EMERGENCY NUMBER: 1-800-324-9696