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PIPA Recommended Practice ND21

ND21 "Reduce Transmission Pipeline Risk through Design and Location of New Public Safety and Enforcement Facilities"

Practice Statement New development of emergency responder facilities within a transmission pipeline planning area (see PIPA Recommended Practice BL06) should be designed and the facilities located and constructed to reduce the consequences that could result from a transmission pipeline incident. Such facilities should also be designed and located to avoid the potential of interference with pipeline operations and maintenance. Planning for these facilities should include emergency plans that consider the effects of a transmission pipeline incident.

Audience(s): Local Government, Property Developer and Owner

Practice Description

Facilities that house and serve emergency responders and critical emergency response communications that are located within a transmission pipeline planning area (see PIPA recommended Practice BL06) should be designed and located to minimize the impacts of a transmission pipeline incident on their emergency response capabilities. Police, fire, hazardous materials, emergency rescue and other emergency responder facilities, including structures, parking lots, offices, communications and dispatch centers, serve a critical role in public welfare during emergencies, including transmission pipeline incidents. Access to and egress from such facilities should be planned and implemented to avoid any impairment of the ability of emergency personnel to respond to pipeline incidents in order to address public safety issues.

If such facilities or utilities necessary for operation of such facilities are located within the planning area, then in order to reduce the risk of a transmission pipeline incident affecting the facilities (i.e. impair/interrupt capabilities), specific emergency response plans should be developed and integrated with existing overall emergency and/or relocation plans for these sites. The emergency response plans for the site should be developed in coordination with the transmission pipeline operator, as necessary.

Enhanced fire protection of buildings (i.e. automatic sprinklers, water screens, exposure protection, air handling/ventilation systems, etc.) and/or enhanced fire endurance (non-combustible construction, window limitation, etc.) may also be implemented to further mitigate the impact of a potential pipeline incident. NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code™, provides minimum standards for separation distances for various occupancies based on fire endurance (in hours) and incorporates many other NFPA codes and standards (by reference) for fire protection. NFPA 5000 and IBC provide minimum standards for fire endurance of various buildings.

Local government agencies or developers may consider modeling of fire, explosion, or toxic release impacts that could occur during an incident for the specific land use under consideration. Egress models may also be considered. If appropriate, facility design should take this modeling into account to minimize potential impacts. The model should be fit-for-purpose and the model user should have appropriate expertise.

It should be noted that transmission pipeline operators are required to provide emergency liaison and consultations by existing pipeline safety regulations. Gas and liquid transmission pipeline operators must maintain, modify as appropriate, and follow the plans, procedures and programs they are required to establish under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 192 and 195, respectively.

In addition, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has formed partnerships, funded research and programs, and has published supplementary documents to assist transmission pipeline operators, emergency response personnel, and others in developing an emergency response plan.