Trimming emergency response times when seconds count

Enbridge regularly supplies first responders with our retired fleet vehicles, in North Dakota and elsewhere

When that call comes in to the fire hall, seconds can save lives.

And in northwestern North Dakota, the Wildrose Fire Department’s response is now as rapid as ever.

In recent months, Enbridge has donated a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado extended-cab, long-box pickup truck to the Wildrose FD. It’s one of 19 retired Enbridge fleet vehicles that have been turned over to emergency response organizations across the state since the summer.

And this three-quarter-ton Chevy has already helped the Wildrose crew of 32 brave, selfless volunteers arrive on scene quicker to motor vehicle accidents, grass fires, and industrial incidents.

“The pickup that Enbridge gave us is proving very useful as a quick-response unit,” says Doug Cvancara, assistant chief with the Wildrose FD, which serves about 300 residents living in an area of about 400 square miles.

“We see about 40 to 50 calls a year . . . and we’re deliberately keeping this truck light, so in the event of a traffic accident, it’ll be the first one out the door. We’ve got a sliding unit ordered for it, which will also make it handy for grass fires, but it will carry a smaller water tank to stay light,” he adds. “The other trucks we have are pretty heavy – they’re loaded down with bigger water tanks and foamer units.”

While Enbridge’s Safe Community program has invested about $7-million in North American emergency responder organizations since it was established in 2002, Enbridge also supports the heroes who keep us safe with another community investment program – by regularly supplying those nearby organizations with retired fleet vehicles.

Since summer 2014, Enbridge has donated 19 vehicles, most of them late-2000s-era Silverado pickups, to fire departments, emergency management organizations, police, and rural fire protection districts across North Dakota, in towns like Tioga, Grenora, Leeds, Des Lacs, and Devils Lake. Those organizations have made good use of these trucks as command vehicles, grassland and small structure firefighting units, personnel transports, and extrication units, with Jaws of Life equipment mounted on slider beds.

The vast majority of these former Enbridge fleet vehicles were sold for $1 apiece. A few first-response organizations chose instead to sell the vehicles at auction, using the proceeds for fundraising or equipment purchases.

“Our hope is that the trucks we donate can help alleviate the strain some of these organizations may be facing with either limited or aging response equipment,” says Katie Haarsager, Enbridge’s community relations advisor in North Dakota.

Enbridge is the largest crude oil transporter in the Bakken region, which recently became the 10th oilfield in world history to reach a million of barrels in production per day.

“These first-response agencies are made up largely of volunteers,” says Art Haskins, Enbridge’s emergency response co-ordinator in North Dakota. “Having the proper equipment nearby can have a big impact on response times. Not only will first response organizations benefit from these donations – so will Enbridge and the communities where we operate.”

Enbridge also works closely with emergency responders to provide pipeline-specific training, and invites those groups to participate in regular ER drills across our enterprise.

The fleet vehicle donation program represents one more layer of comfort and protection for the community.

“This pickup from Enbridge is coming in very handy,” says Cvancara. “We appreciate it very much.”