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LNG Community Awareness

Federal pipeline safety regulations require that LNG facility operators communicate, coordinate, and cooperate with local public officials regarding preparation for emergency evacuation plans, providing mutual assistance in the event of emergencies, and keeping them advised of LNG plant fire-control equipment, potential hazards of the plant, and emergency communication and control capabilities of the plant.  These requirements are addressed in 49 CFR §193.2509 – Emergency procedures.

To promote LNG awareness to local community officials and emergency responders, PHMSA partnered with the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), other Federal agencies, universities, and industry to explain LNG in a style readily understood by emergency responders. NASFM published Liquefied Natural Gas: An Overview of the LNG Industry for Fire Marshals and Emergency Responders. This document provides a broad overview of LNG, its hazards and risks, and the issues that fire safety officials may face as LNG infrastructure expands to meet the country’s future energy needs.

NASFM also published Fire Service Guidance for Participating in LNG Terminal Evaluation, Siting, and Operations. It identifies that the active participation of the local fire service is crucial to the success of the preliminary and final design, effective cost-sharing, planning and operational phases of LNG facilities. There are a number of ways that local first responders are intended to be integral to the process of LNG siting and operation and able to engage in analyzing as well as managing these risks. Fire officials are encouraged to participate in FERC cryogenic design conferences and U.S. Coast Guard waterway suitability assessments for LNG facilities. These processes culminate in the facility Emergency Response Plan (ERP), which must be approved by FERC prior to construction of the terminal. Fire official participation in the development of the ERP ensures that local response agencies have the knowledge and resources necessary to protect their communities.

Subsequently, NASFM produced a video, Liquefied Natural Gas Safety and Emergency Response, that is intended for fire marshals, fire chiefs, government officials and other personnel who may be responsible for planning, coordinating, or commanding an emergency response to an LNG incident; or, who may contribute professional opinions about the possible siting of an LNG facility.