DOT ERG Background

Time: 4:00 pm (Dusk) in early December
Local Weather: 30 degrees with a slight wind of 4 mph from the Southeast.


Centerville is a community of 15,000 people and is located approximately 60 miles from the nearest major city.

There are two pipelines running through this town. A liquid pipeline runs along the East side and a natural gas line along the West. There is also a gas transmission line that runs through an area that has been developed into a retail and food Super Mart. The local cable company is excavating in the parking lot of the store.

There is a daycare, residential homes, and a metal fastening facility located in close proximity to the gas transmission line. The metal fastening facility is open and operating 24 hours a day. Within 2,000 feet of the gas transmission line you will also find a small shopping mall, gas station, additional residential homes, and a major corporate facility.


The Centerville Fire Department is a volunteer fire department with career and volunteer responders. The fire department’s first response to this call would include two engines, a rescue truck and a chief officer. The personnel would be approximately 9-12 members on scene. The total response team for the community could reach 20-25 fire personnel. Mutual Aid will also respond with 5 engines, 2 tower ladders, and 5 medics within 1 Hour.


Centerville law enforcement consists of 18 officers from the local police force. There are 6 officers on duty at the time of the event. There are 2 county sheriffs in the area and 6 additional men who can be provided with a call back to work order according to the Emergency Response Plan. There is a local off duty police officer for traffic control at the Super Mart due to the high traffic volume on Saturday. The closest on duty patrol officer is a mile away to the East and a county sheriff is two miles away to the West. Call back will take 1 to 2 hours to get a guaranteed 8 more officers.

Background ^
Scenarios Home « Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Next »

IntroductionProceed »

Scenario Map

Use the tabs on the left to learn important information you will need when responding to this scenario.

When you are ready click "Proceed".

Rolloverto see images.

Proceed »

Initial Response - Vehicle Placement

Click on the officer to hear his report from the Super Mart.

You are the first officer on the scene. Where would you place your police car?

Now, based on your placement of your car, where would you place the Sherrif’s car?

Initial Response GuidelinesProceed »

Excercise #1 - Emergency Response Priorities

Click on the images to get important information form the scene.

Question #1 - Identify your priorities as an emergency responder. Select your first, second and third priority for these strategic goals.




Property Conservation

Life Safety

Incident Stabilization

Check Answers »

Question #2 - Since we agree that our first priorty is life safety, what tatic do you believe will accomplish this mission?

Excercise #2 - Evacuation Priorities

You are on the scene with a limited number of officers. The Fire Department has been delayed and the incident is escalating. People are coming up to you with requests and seeking direction. We agree that life safety is the number one priority. The best tactic for life safety right now is evacuation.

Excercise #3 - Identifying Pipeline Markers

The best way to identify a pipeline is by using the pipeline marker.

Drag the circles below to the appropriate location on the marker.

Pipeline Operator?

What is the product?

Which can you use to acquire more information regarding this release?

Proceed »

Excercise #4 - Pipeline Release Indicators

Determine if the following are specific indications of a gas or a liquid leak. In some cases the answer may be both. Make your selection and check your answers.





Pipeline ROW



Puddles on the ground

Liquid coming out of the ground

A sheen or slick on the water's surface

Dirt blowing in the air with no product runoff

Continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas

Dead or brown vegetation in an otherwise green field

Initial Evacuation Zones

Using the DOT ERG what is the initial evacuation distance for this chemical?

Pipeline Control Center

Where else can responders go to get more help and information beyond the DOT ERG in an emergency? The pipeline control center is the “nerve center” for information about pipeline operations during an emergency. Calling the pipeline control center will begin to give you information such as:

  • What potential hazards from their products may be present at the location.
  • What additional complications may result from response activities as they relate to the pipeline and its product.
  • How responders should fight small fires, administer appropriate first aid and assist with evacuations or traffic control.
  • What actions to take, especially as they relate to containment and control of the pipeline product. How to control the supply of gas or liquid.
  • Who should perform this task.
  • Why the operator’s personnel should be the only people to shut down large valves and other pipeline equipment in the system.
Proceed »

Hazard and Risk Assessment - Ignition Sources

The DOT ERG recommends several precautions for flammable atmospheres:



Will be easily ignited by heat, sparks or flames.

Will form explosive mixtures with air.

Vapors may travel to source of ignition and flash back

Roll over each picture you consider to be an ignition source

Any internal combustion engine can draw vapors into the engine and be a source of ignition
Water Spray
Water Spray is not a hazard unless it is in the proximity of electricity or water-reactive chemicals
Fans can blow glass away and ventilate a building with positive pressure. Be careful! The gas or vapors can fine their way back in to the fan's power/engine and cause this to be an ignition source.
Down Power Lines
Be careful because a ground or arcing can cause an ignition.
Some radios can cause ignition. It's important to check with the manufacturer.
Static Charge
Escaping gas can cause large amounts of static electricity. Touching the pipe or trying to repair the leak by crimping a plastic pipe can cause a static discharge and possibly ignition.
Strobes can be a cause of ignition.
Light Switches
Switching "on" / "off" can cause a spark that might cause ignition.
Proceed »

Additional Support and ResourcesProceed »

Emergency Planning is Critical to Success

Training Scenario #5 - Natural Gas Transmission Line Break