Whiting’s EH&S practices, design standards, and preventative maintenance programs are developed, in part, to prevent events that may cause harm to the public, our environment and our employees. Although prevention is key, Whiting recognizes that emergency situations do occur and that we must be prepared to respond safely, quickly and effectively. Our response objectives demonstrate Whiting’s ability to: exercise “command and control” of the response; minimize impact to people, property and the environment; achieve continuous improvement of our response capabilities through after-action reviews.
Whiting’s Emergency Response Plan has established an incident command structure (ICS), based on Homeland Security’s National Incident Management System (NIMS), as guidance for our employees to meet their response objectives during an emergency event. To ensure emergency preparedness, Whiting employees receive annual ICS roles/responsibilities training and participate in regional ICS drills to evaluate the overall effectiveness our response capabilities. For drills and actual events, Whiting uses specialized software to manage, document and evaluate our response.
Whiting and its employees are involved in many activities that promote public awareness within their local communities. Many of our employees are volunteers to their local fire departments and rescue services. Additionally, Whiting employees take part in several community outreach and agency sponsored “Community Right To Know” programs. Examples include:
- Annual SARA Title III Tier Two Reporting to State Emergency Response Commissions (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC), and Fire Departments;
- Annual SERC training for SARA Title III Tier Two Reports
- Participation in quarterly LEPC Meetings;
- Invitations to LEPCs and Emergency Responders to participate in our ICS Drills;
- Present, as subject matter experts, during public forums and safety conferences;
- Facility tours for the public and state university students.
Organizations and activities Whiting employees are actively involved with to promote oil and gas awareness include: SASR (Lake Sakakawea Area Spill Response, North Dakota (ND) Department of Emergency Services’ Hazardous Materials Conference, ND State Fire Conference, ND Industrial Commission, Colorado Oil and Gas Commission, Weld County, CO. LEPC, Bureau of Land Management, US Forrest Service, ND Petroleum Council, 811 Call Before You Dig, ND State Fire Conference, ND Safety Council Conference and Expo, National and Regional STEPS Network, NIOSH and OSHA
Whiting has conducted facility tours for the following agencies and universities: US Forrest Service, South Dakota School of Mines, Montana Tech School of Mines, Colorado School of Mines and North Dakota State University. These activities provide transparency to the communities where we work, operate and live.
WATFORD CITY TORNADO RESPONSE
A newborn baby was killed and more than two dozen people were injured when a tornado ripped through Watford City, North Dakota overnight in July 2018. The storm overturned recreational vehicles and demolished more than 100 structures. The National Weather Service (NWS) classified the tornado as an EF2, with wind speeds reaching 127 mph.
Immediately, Whiting employees sprung into action. Our employees helped clean up the areas most affected and prepared meals for those who were impacted. The help really started after the storm when the NWS identified that a hole existed in the Doppler Radar coverage in Watford City. Whiting began working with the McKenzie County Emergency Department to fix the issue. Ultimately, we contacted the Lt. Governor’s office and were invited to a meeting on the issue. On Friday, August 10, two Whiting employees met with North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, Lt. Governor Bret Sanford and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration representatives to discuss the issue. While we offered to help pay for a new tower, it was identified the issue was with the positioning of the current tower. By turning it 10 degrees, the hole in the doppler system was filled and the problem was reduced. Whiting helped make a meaningful difference and ultimately helped make our employees and the community safer.