This week’s Pipeliners Podcast episode features Laura Hoehne and Justin Maloney discussing the difference between pipeline safety and security, the importance of adequate pipeline safety training for first responders, and the difference in training between the rural and metropolitan areas.
In this episode, you will learn about classes offered through the All Hazards Training Center, how attendees are trained differently based on their specific needs and location, as well as what the courses address and how to effectively work with first responders.
Pipeline Safety Training Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms:
- Laura Hoehne is the program manager for the federal training grants received by the University of Findlay’s All Hazards Training Center (AHTC), which includes grants from the Department of Homeland Security, specifically the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Training and Education Division (FEMA/NTED), and the Department of Transportation, specifically Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Office of Pipeline Safety and Office of Hazardous Materials. Through these grants, AHTC trains nationwide on a wide variety of topics, including crisis management for schools, maritime security, rail car incident response, and pipeline security. Laura is also the Director of Curriculum Development for the training center and has been with the university for over 18 years.
- University of Findlay is known for excellence in its science, health professions, animal science and equestrian studies programs, but also for cultivating the next generation of business leaders, educators and innovative thinkers through a dedication to experiential learning, both in and outside of the classroom.
- The All Hazards Training Center, established by the University of Findlay, is the nation’s leader in the development and delivery of customized environmental, health and safety training programs.
- University of Findlay is known for excellence in its science, health professions, animal science and equestrian studies programs, but also for cultivating the next generation of business leaders, educators and innovative thinkers through a dedication to experiential learning, both in and outside of the classroom.
- Justin Maloney is the founder and president of Patriot Pipeline Safety, Corp. He is an experienced U.S. pipeliner with a multi-disciplined history of successful pipeline maintenance and mainline construction projects. Skilled in pipeline security, right-of-way ground patrols, damage prevention, pipeline constructability, and industry motivational speaking. He’s a pipeline professional/educator certified in FAA 107, NACE, API, OSHA, and M.S. degree from Columbia Southern University in Emergency Management/Global Terrorism. Connect with Justin on LinkedIn.
- Patriot Pipeline Safety, Corp. is designed to help strengthen the knowledge in new pipeline professionals through better training and consulting specific to pipelines. They provide coaching in both field and classroom settings to help build the skills needed for a stronger, more educated employee in the field.
- Right-of-Way is a strip of land encompassing buried pipelines and other natural gas equipment allowing them to be permanently located on public and/or private land to provide natural gas service.
- DHS (Department of Homeland Security) is the U.S. federal executive department responsible for public security.
- RDPC (Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium) is committed to providing small, rural, and tribal emergency responders and stakeholders with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to enhance the safety, security, and quality of life for their citizens through access to DHS certified training and resources developed specifically for rural practitioners and communities.
- FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) mission is to support the citizens and first responders to promote that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
- NDPC (The National Domestic Preparedness Consortium) is a partnership of several nationally recognized organizations whose membership is based on the urgent need to address the counter-terrorism preparedness needs of the nation’s emergency first responders within the context of all hazards including chemical, biological, radiological, and explosive Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) hazards.
- HCA (High-Consequence Areas) are defined by PHMSA as a potential impact zone that contains 20 or more structures intended for human occupancy or an identified site. PHMSA identifies how pipeline operators must identify, prioritize, assess, evaluate, repair, and validate the integrity of gas transmission pipelines that could, in the event of a leak or failure, affect HCAs.
- SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a system of software and technology that allows pipeliners to control processes locally or at remote locations.
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are established or prescribed methods to be followed routinely for the performance of designated operations or in designated situations.
- PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) is responsible for providing pipeline safety oversight through regulatory rulemaking, NTSB recommendations, and other important functions to protect people and the environment through the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials.
- The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) is a dataset containing locations of and information about gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants that are under the jurisdiction of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The NPMS also contains voluntarily submitted breakout tank data. The data is used by PHMSA for emergency response, pipeline inspections, regulatory management and compliance, and analysis purposes. It is used by government officials, pipeline operators, and the general public for a variety of tasks, including emergency response, smart growth planning, critical infrastructure protection, and environmental protection.
Pipeline Safety Training Full Episode Transcript:
Russel Treat: Welcome to the “Pipeliners Podcast,” episode 265, sponsored by Gas Certification Institute, providing standard operating procedures, training, and software tools for custody transfer measurement and field operations professionals. Find out more about GCI at GasCertification.com.
Announcer: The Pipeliners Podcast, where professionals, Bubba geeks, and industry insiders share their knowledge and experience about technology, projects, and pipeline operations.
Now, your host, Russel Treat.
Russel: Thanks for listening to the Pipeliners Podcast. I appreciate you taking the time. To show that appreciation, we give away a customized YETI tumbler to one listener every episode. This week, our winner is Nate Westfall with Dominion Energy. To learn how you can win this signature prize, stick around till the end of the episode.
This week, we’re speaking to Laura Hoehne with the All Hazards Training Center, and Justin Maloney with Patriot Pipeline Safety, Corp. about publicly available pipeline security training. Laura, Justin, welcome to the Pipeliners Podcast.
Laura Hoehne: Thank you very much.
Justin Maloney: Thank you for having us.
Russel: Justin, I know you’re a huge fan. You’ve been very excited to do this. You did a lot of work to set this up. First, just a shout out. Thank you for reaching out. What we’re going to talk about today is a great topic. Thank you for doing that.
Before we dive in, I’d just ask you guys to introduce yourself. Justin, why don’t you go first? Tell us a little bit about your background and what you do in the pipelining space.
Justin: My name is Justin Maloney. I work in the security, safety, and environmental aspects of the pipeline industry. I began as a pipeline operator when I was 21 years old with a company called ONEOK, where I worked as a pipeline technician. This is where I learned how to operate and maintain pipeline transmission systems.
Then I began a career on the construction side of the industry. I left for approximately 10 years on the road with two very, very good contractors Precision Pipeline and Minnesota Limited where I learned a lot about the constructability of pipelines, both liquids and natural gas.
I returned back to the region where I came from about four years ago. I am privileged to have multiple working relationships with clients throughout the Chicagoland area. Part of our portfolio of services is carrying out security vulnerability assessments for existing pipeline infrastructure and new projects under construction.
We focus on unmanned aircraft assessments for right-of-ways. We also specialize in pipeline leak detection and damage prevention services. One of the most important working relationships we value is our collaboration with All Hazards Training Center which is a very well-known organization including Laura Hoehne who has been a great resource for All Hazards Training Center. I came from the pipeline industry and am still very excited to still be a part of it today.
Russel: Laura, same question for you. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved with pipelining, if you would.
Laura: My name is Laura Hoehne. I’m with the All Hazards Training Center, which is a separate business unit within the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, which is in Northwest Ohio, about an hour south of Toledo.
The way I got involved with the pipeline industry, Findlay, Ohio, is home to Marathon Petroleum Corporation. We just are neighbors in the city of Findlay. About 13 years ago, we entered into a discussion about doing some pipeline security training.
At that time, we were well on our way in a consortium that we’ll talk about here a little bit later called the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium. That is a Department of Homeland Security training partner. They were looking for some ideas for some pertinent training to rural communities.
We got together with Marathon and some other pipeline operators, and put together a Pipeline Security for Rural Communities course that we take nationwide and it’s offered free, thanks to a Department of Homeland Security grant. I manage the program for the university. That’s specifically how I’m involved.
Russel: Tell us a little bit, if you would, about the training center. What’s the nature of what you guys do? More globally first, and then we’ll talk more about what you’re doing in the pipelining space.
Laura: As I mentioned, the All Hazards Training Center, we’re part of the University of Findlay. The difference is the University of Findlay generally trains traditional students. They have an environmental health and safety track in their undergraduate and graduate program. The All Hazards Training Center, we actually train working professionals.
We do outreach training to public and private sector working professionals on a wide variety of topics. Anything related to emergency management, environmental health and safety, security, we train nationwide. Even though we’re part of the university structure, the All Hazards Training Center, we operate as a separate business unit.
Russel: I’m quite familiar with the Disaster Response Training Center at Texas A&M in College Station and also their Fire Training Center. I would assume this is a similar thing.
They use the resources and expertise of the university to build and manage training programs and manage all the infrastructure to provide that training which is a huge deal. The training is targeted to more hands-on people, the people doing the work, versus engineers and scientists and managers.
Laura: You’re absolutely right. We definitely follow that protocol where we develop the training. We take our training out on the road to those professionals. We do 90 percent of our training at a client’s location. Whether that be the public sector for training firefighters or private sector for training companies, emergency response teams, we take our training on the road.
Russel: Yeah. That’s a very interesting distinction, because it is very different from what my experience is. My experience is that these training centers have these huge infrastructures around being able to support people having very realistic hands-on training, where your effort is much more to get it to the people that need it without having them have the cost of traveling to someplace to get the training.
Laura: Yeah, you’re exactly right. When the training center was formed back in 1989, the thought process was to build it and they will come. So, we built a training facility. We do have a five-acre facility that we have overturned rail cars and tanker trucks and pipe racks and all sorts of stuff that we do training at.
What we found out, it didn’t take us too long, and we found out that although some people were coming to Findlay, Ohio, they wanted us to come to them. It was a desire of our clients to work in that manner.
We built mobile trailers, and so we take a lot of our equipment that we can on the road. If we don’t use our equipment, then we use the client’s equipment to do the training, so that we bring it to them instead of making them come to us.
Russel: Yeah, that’s huge. That’s huge because it greatly opens up the number of people you can potentially contact. You mentioned that you have a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. Maybe, you can tell us a little bit about that partnership and how it came to be and what you’re doing there, too.
Laura: Yeah, absolutely. The partnership is actually under the World Domestic Preparedness Consortium. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA) has a division called the National Training and Education Division.
As you were referencing some of the other entities, like Texas A&M or the folks at LSU or New Mexico tech, they are part of what’s called the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium or the NDPC. They’ve been around longer than the RDPC, the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium. We follow the same mantra, if you will, in terms of being a training partner with DHS.
The big difference is, obviously, national versus rural. The National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, they focus on different topics, if you will. The World Domestic Preparedness Consortium, our sole focus is on topics that rural emergency responders, rural stakeholders need to help fill their training needs in their capability gaps. That’s our focus on the RDPC.
It’s been around since 2005, DHS appropriated the RDPC in 2005. We are made up of five academic institutions that each focus on different disciplines.
The institutions are the University of Findlay, Eastern Kentucky University, North Central Community College, Northwest Arkansas Community College, and the University of California at Davis. Each one of our institutions have different courses that have gone through the DHS approval process that allow us to offer them free to rural communities.
In addition to the academic partners that make up the consortium, we are led by the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky. They are the executive agent for the RDPC grant that allows us all to deliver the training free nationwide.
Russel: Yeah. I’ll just acknowledge for the listeners that that’s a little bit of alphabet soup. If you want to decode all of that, go to the website, go to the transcript. We’ll have the show notes and definitions of all this stuff, so that you can hopefully get a little clearer understanding.
It all makes sense when Laura is talking about it. .I don’t know about you, but for me, 30 minutes from now, I’m not remembering all of that. For the listeners, that’s all out there for your reference. I did want to ask this question, however, what is unique or different about rural training versus a focus for metropolitan training?
Laura: One of the biggest factors is response time. When you are in a metropolitan area, the response times are much faster than if you are in a rural community.
If you have an incident, depending on where it’s at, you may not have responders at your facility or in your community, depending on where you’re at and what you need. I mean, it could be 20 minutes before you get somebody to a particular location. That changes the dynamic.
The people that we train, they have to be prepared in a slightly different way to be their own first responders, if you will, and what can they do to be prepared while they’re waiting for the emergency response community to show up, basically.
Russel: The training is targeted to the operators not to the first responders, or is it both?
Laura: It’s both. It’s definitely both and depending on the topic. We’ve got a wide variety of topics that all of us, academic partners, have courses on.
At the University of Findlay, we run the gamut on topics. As an example, we have eight courses that are approved through the Department of Homeland Security to be offered free.
The topics are Crisis Management for Schools. We go into schools and help them with crisis management. It’s not just schools. It’s emergency response professionals, too.
We do maritime security, where we bring the port and vessel community together, where it’s operators on a port and emergency responders. We do railcar incident response training, where we bring in emergency responders and railroad operators. Whoever’s operating the rail and their community, we bring them together.
Then, obviously, the topic that we want to talk about more today is our pipeline security for rural communities, where the goal for our target audience is to bring emergency responders and the local pipeline operators to go through the training together.
Russel: Yeah, that’s a big deal. That’s a big subject in pipelining, is how do we work more effectively with the first responders, particularly, for the long haul, guys? Long haul in this situation can be just a couple 100 miles. You end up crossing a lot of different rural jurisdictions. A lot of those responders, they could be volunteer fire departments and such.
What I’d like to ask is tell us a little bit about the specific content of the training. What kind of things are you covering, and then how are you going about covering it? Is it a classroom? Is it a workshop? What are you actually doing?
Laura: Yeah, I’ll definitely get to that. I’m totally going to have Justin chime in, too, but I do want to set the stage here before I talk about just the modules that we cover.
The one thing that was super important for us when we entered into the conversation with Marathon Petroleum Corporation, is if we want to train our emergency responders — the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium does an awesome job of connecting with emergency responders – the one part that was key is we had to connect with the pipeline operators to make this course a success. That was our mission from the get-go, that we needed to have instructors for our course that had pipeline experience, pipeline security experience, specifically.
We were able to bring on instructors that have the pipeline security experience, like Justin. I don’t know if I can name the other companies. I don’t think it would be a problem. We have folks from Kinder Morgan. We have folks from Shell. We have folks involved, like I said, from Marathon at the beginning.
That was a big impetus for us, to make sure that our instructors would be able to talk with the pipeline operators and the emergency responders and bring them on the same page. Having said that, I’m proud of that fact. That’s why I wanted to make sure that I hit that hard.
In terms of the content, we started out with just some basic introductory information, the importance of the pipeline system and pipeline basics in terms of the components, so that we can get the emergency responders to understand the language about pipelines and why securing that infrastructure is so important. We talk about that, the importance of pipeline basics.
Then, we do have a couple of modules on the government’s role in pipeline security, as well as the industry’s role in pipeline security. Then, we advance on to talk about pipeline incidents that have happened in the United States and abroad.
That’s both physical threats and cyber threats. We talk about that. Then we talk about what are the indicators of suspicious activity, so that our participants can be alerted to what things they should be looking for.
Then, we end the day on some scenarios, where we put into practice the topics that we’ve talked about all day and have some scenarios where we basically just go through a tabletop with them and how they would respond if certain factors were identified.
We do have what we call a pocket guide, if you will, that is a leave-behind, that is just a small bound, little booklet that somebody could throw in their glove box if they wanted or backpack where it just summarizes some of the key information but also has some places for our participants to jot down information.
Who are their pipeline operators? Then, what are some key things about that local pipeline that they should be aware of, so that if they did come across something they have some information in their glove box, if you will, to contact somebody. That’s the course overall.
I am the director of curriculum development. I know what’s in the course. I’m not a pipeline expert, which is why we have folks like Justin. I can talk to you all day about the content of what’s in our course, but Justin can fill in the color, if you will, on connecting the dots for our participants both from the emergency response side and the pipeline operator side.
Russel: That’s a great segue. Justin, I think the first question I’d like to ask you is “How do you define pipeline security?” That’s one of those things that we all make up what we think that means, but it can have some very different meanings, depending on the context you’re talking from. How would you define pipeline security?
Justin: I believe that it’s a continuous effort to mitigate your recognized vulnerabilities pertaining to both pipeline construction and operations. That is a changing environment, system to system. For pipeline systems in operation, it depends on where this system was built, when it was built, the terrain that it runs through, HCAs, if it has been modernized or not, the lifelong record of it, and the product that the system transports.
There’s also an important segment for pipeline construction that has grown in recognition today, too, when we look at what’s happened with Enbridge Line 6BR, Enbridge Line 3, Dakota Access Pipeline, and Permian Highway.
We’ve taken some valuable lessons from these projects. We have implemented them in future projects to try to mitigate forms of domestic resistance, environmental extremism, vandalism and to help protect the workers while making sure that the project is completed safely while maintaining the integrity of the pipeline itself.
Russel: I guess when I’m hearing pipeline security in this context, there’s not a lot of distinction between pipeline security and pipeline safety in this context. Is that right?
Justin: I believe that you are in continuous pursuit of protecting the integrity of the pipeline, and that could be very well defined as pipeline safety.
Russel: Laura, what would you have to add to that?
Laura: I would just say we do make a distinction in our training materials. Our focus in this course is pipeline security. It’s not pipeline safety from the standpoint of “We’re going to teach you how to respond to a pipeline incident.” That’s not what we’re doing, because there is other training and federally approved and funded training for emergency response to pipeline incidents.
We definitely mention that in our training. We actually provide a little snippet of the emergency response training. We cover that in our material. The focus is definitely security and the threats for security, which, obviously, safety and security are part of the same thing.
Russel: That’s what I’m trying to parse. I’m trying to parse for the listeners to try and get very clear about exactly what you’re doing and how it’s different from what other people are doing. I’ll take a stab again.
Would it be correct to say, when you’re talking about pipeline security, it’s looking at all the things in terms of people, activities, and things happening around the pipeline that could go to maintaining the integrity of the pipeline, more so than what we’re doing in integrity management and public awareness?
Justin: It is understanding the operating environment of that system, or the construction environment in which a system is being constructed. This class successfully addresses both pipeline operations and construction. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so valuable to the audience that attends this course. It’s first in flight for what it’s addressing in today’s environment.
Russel: That’s actually very helpful, Justin. It’s very helpful because when I start thinking about security in that context, now I’m thinking about, “Well, if I have an open trench and I’m doing a dig, how am I making sure only the right people are getting into that ditch? Particularly if that thing is going to be there for multiple days, how do I make sure that that site is secure over the course of multiple days as that dig is occurring?”
That’s a different thing than the other kind of pipeline safety. It still has pipeline safety implications, but it’s a different thing, I guess. That’s helpful for me because it clarifies more about what you guys are doing.
Laura: If I can just jump in here, we definitely tried to take an all hazards approach, if you will, to this because we even talk about workplace violence. Our target audience, are they considering that in their security protocols? Do they even address that?
Not only the physical aspect of it for our construction projects or just physical security of the components that they have now, and their SCADA systems, and their cyber systems but just all of the potential threats.
As Justin mentioned, what are all the vulnerabilities that not only pipeline operators need to be aware of and be able to identify, but then as the emergency responders, how does that fit into their SOPs? Do they have an SOP if they get notified of a backpack sitting at a gate valve?
Now, I’m talking about my head because I know enough just to be dangerous, but we just talked about all sorts of things. It’s definitely maintaining the integrity of the system across the entire board.
Russel: Justin, what would you add to that in terms of how the training addresses helping first responders and operators get educated on these topics?
Justin: When I got involved with the All Hazards Training Center, and I met Laura, I thought that this class was a very rich opportunity to address a growing concern and a growing risk in our country pertaining to pipeline critical infrastructure.
The reason why I thought it was such a good opportunity is because this class successfully breaks down the components of pipeline security regarding pipeline operations to begin with. We go through the components, A, B, C components, of how a pipeline operates.
When you exchange that valuable information with affiliated parties that have to collaborate in the event of an emergency or to be proactive in order to really dial in their…Whether it’s mock emergency drills, emergency response scenarios, that information is very, very valuable for emergency responders. It also engages the pipeline operators that come to these classes.
When we take a look at where the class is taking place, we try to dial in very region specifics of where we’re teaching that class. What that does is it brings a personal value to the audience.
It’s also an environment where it’s incredibly valuable for the time spent in that class. You’re taking a look at the pipeline’s operating in your region, and you’re dissecting the potential vulnerabilities. Then, you’re asking, “What if this were to happen,” and that’s when the conversations really ignite in this classroom.
Throughout the curriculum, we provide extensive resources, whether it’s PHMSA, Department of Homeland Security, new technologies to help both pipeline operators, public officials, and emergency responders successfully tackle these challenges because they’re very unique to the operating area in which they live and work in.
Then, on the construction side of it, we go through case studies of what’s happened on previous large projects in the United States. We even go through what’s happened on facilities and isolated areas, whether it’s compressor stations or meter stations, even city gates.
How would we prevent this moving forward, and what did we learn? Can we take these learnings and apply them to your area in your company?
Once you get this class going, it’s so interesting because the class is very suspenseful. These instructors are fantastic who are engaged in this. When I open up one of these discussions, every location that I teach in, I start off by informing them, “Here’s how oil and gas touches your life.”
Once they realize every single thing they did from the time they woke up to the time they sat in that classroom, oil and gas touched, then they become very interested in how valuable it is to their personal life, and then that rolls into” this is why” this is so important to recognize this in today’s world.
It’s a very good class for collaboration. I think it’s probably one of the best environments I’ve ever seen, where conversations after this class occurs, they just take off.
I hear from audiences that have taken this class about very innovative ideas that they’ve come up with in their communities, discussions that are born with the pipeline operators in that area to address whether it’s fiscal barriers, surveillance, public awareness initiatives, etc.
So many good things come from this, and it addresses today’s challenge. It’s very modern, and it’s a very current curriculum to help all of these parties better themselves in the area of pipeline security.
Russel: You’re saying a mouthful, Justin, because being a person who…One of our companies is a training company, and the challenge to keep content current is very high. The challenge to take content and tailor it to regional or company-specific needs or issues, also very high.
You’re saying a mouthful because taking content and making sure it’s a well-tailored suit for the folks at hand is no small thing.
Laura: I will just add on that. As part of the DHS curriculum approval process, it is a three-year recertification effort. Every three years, we have to get recertified by DHS. Believe me, that is no small task.
We’re required every three years to update the curriculum. In between those three years, we do have some leeway to make sure that we’re addressing things that are current. We do that on a constant basis.
Really, that DHS recertification effort, it’s a great process that we are in with them because we know that we have to make it current every three years, and then we keep it current, as we build up to that recertification date.
Russel: You don’t really appreciate how quickly things change until you start updating a trainee program every three years. You’d say, “Oh, there hasn’t been that much that’s changed.” That’s probably not true. There’s probably a lot that’s changed. Yeah, it’s a big deal. No doubt.
Look, how would pipeliners that wanted to know more about this program or wanted to try to set things up with their relationships with first responders, how would pipeliners go about doing that?
There is a request, of course, link that they just click on, and then they select the pipeline security for rural communities course, which DHS gives the number AWR 302. AWR just stands for awareness, which just means it’s an eight-hour course at the awareness level. DHS has multiple levels.
You’re either at an awareness level, or you’re at a management level, which they abbreviate MGT or a performance level which is PER. This is an awareness level course.
You go to ruraltraining.org. Click on Request a Course for the AWR 302 course, and that goes to our executive agent. Then they start the process where they will initiate that discussion with whoever requested it.
Ultimately, it will come to us at the All Hazards Training Center to do all the logistics for coordinating the schedule when they would want the delivery, and then we take it from there with the logistics coordination.
Russel: How do you go about determining what’s necessary to make the content like regionally operator specific?
Laura: I’ll just jump in, but Justin does this all the time. One of the main things that we do is we provide handouts, where during the course we reference different sites specific or regional specific information.
For every course, we provide handouts that are specific to that region, so it might be pipeline data on the number of incidents or a number of hazardous materials incidents. We provide that to each region. Probably the biggest thing is we do utilize the National Pipeline Mapping System.
In fact, in one of our early modules, we show the participants, the emergency responders, how to locate what is running through their region. Every time I go and attend one of these courses, I’m amazed that the emergency response professionals have no idea what’s in their backyard.
When Justin or the other instructors pull that up and say, “Oh, do you guys know you have this hazardous liquid line that’s going right through,” and then he shows them. Then that is what the instructors build our scenarios around. Justin, I don’t know if you want to talk about that a little more.
Justin: Sure, sure. Without giving too much away, we try to be cautious when we get to this area of the conversation for pipeline security nationwide, but what we do is we take a look at what is in their area from an adversarial mindset.
I will arrive a day early, and I will find a system or systems. Whether that’s natural gas or liquid, I’ll make the determination of what I want to look at. From an adversarial approach, I’ll put pieces of risks and vulnerabilites together to dissect in the classroom.
I’ll create a scenario. Then that’s the scenario we’ll use in class. This is a real-life-in-your-backyard scenario of something that could happen, and if it did happen, how would you address it?
We get into your navigable waterways, your terrain, whether it’s liquids or gas, your components of the pipeline, a domino effect, if not only the pipeline was involved in an incident, but what other type of infrastructure was involved in the incident?
How would that impact your community? What do you have in your community? That just snowballs a very productive conversation that just breeds collaboration between the parties involved. That’s how we successfully initiate those conversations by making it very personal. This isn’t something very broad. This course brings your pipeline systems and community together for a safer, more secure operating environment.
We use your area that we’re teaching in as the class example. It just sparks a great environment for collaboration between these parties. I think it definitely drives home the objective of this course, which is to connect these parties, to make a safer community, more secure pipeline projects and systems in operations and to educate them on realistic vulnerabilities to recognize and help address.
This class has done a good job about that. For it to be free is why I personally invested a lot of time and believe in this class. I think it’s a fantastic resource.
Russel: That’s awesome. Any last comments? Anything else you’d like for pipeliners to know about all this?
Laura: I just have one comment. Unfortunately, we don’t have an infinite amount of funding. We do have funding available. Right now, we have 33 requests that we can fill. That means for the first 33 requests that come in the door, that’s just how we roll, first in, first out. It’s not unlimited funding.
If any of the listeners are interested in bringing it into their communities or at least to start the conversation, I encourage them to go to ruraltraining.org and get their name on the list, because it literally is first in, first out.
Russel: Justin, same question for you. Anything as final comments for pipeliners?
Justin: It’s a great opportunity for pipeline operators to extend their efforts in the public awareness arena for pipeline security. It’s also a really good opportunity to develop very personal relationships in your area, in your community. It has definitely fostered an environment for buy-in when we leave.
It’s good to hear the stories of the discussions that have taken place to enhance pipeline security in the areas that this class takes place in. It’s very industry specific. It is not general. For future participants, if you are interested, I think it is a very good use of your time. It’s a very valuable class for you to participate in.
Russel: I just want to say thanks to both you, particularly, Justin, to yourself, for reaching out and setting this up. When I first heard about this, this was all brand new to me. I had not heard anything about it. I had no idea that this was even out there and existed as a potential possibility.
Really appreciate you guys’ time and reaching out. We will certainly be interested in learning more about how this is going as you continue to evolve and improve the program.
For the listeners, we will take a little extra care in organizing all this information so that if you are interested, you can just quickly go to the website and right to the show notes and find the website and the place you need to go. Guys, thank you very much. I really appreciate your time.
Laura: Thank you. My pleasure.
Justin: Thank you, Russel. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you.
Russel: I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the Pipeliners Podcast and our conversation with Laura and Justin. Just a reminder before you go. You should register to win our customized Pipeliners Podcast YETI tumbler. Simply visit PipelinePodcastNetwork.com/Win and enter yourself in the drawing.
If you have ideas, questions, or topics you’d be interested in hearing about, please let me know on the Contact Us page at PipelinePodcastNetwork.com, or reach out to me on LinkedIn. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you next week.
Transcription by CastingWords