In early 2016, North Metro Fire Rescue District became aware that oil and gas developers were planning to construct well sites within our fire district that would contain a large number of wells per site. North Metro Fire started engaging with the developers and have had numerous meetings and planning discussions over the past several months.
We have reviewed the developers’ existing emergency response plans and have worked on enhancing those plans and customizing them for each well site. We have visited well sites in other areas at every stage of construction and development to learn more about the development process and operations. We have consulted with other fire departments that already have these large, multiple-well sites in their response area. Additionally, we are part of the Front Range Emergency Response Consortium, which is comprised of oil and gas developers and first responders, who collaborate on improving emergency response plans, conducting appropriate training, and acquiring the necessary equipment for emergency responders. We have also participated in tabletop training exercises with developers in our District to identify any potential deficiencies and work on solutions for them.
In early 2017, North Metro Fire put together its own Oil and Gas Committee to proactively address any concerns or needs we have as a fire district pertaining to oil and gas development. This committee includes a petroleum engineer who also serves as a firefighter for the District. The committee is overseeing the development of training and educational programs for our firefighters so that they are adequately prepared to respond to any potential incidents involving the multiple-well sites.
While we are still early on in the process of large multiple-well sites being developed within our fire district, North Metro Fire is taking a proactive approach and working alongside the developers and the counties to be as prepared as we can be to handle potential incidents. Keeping our residents and first responders safe requires the collaboration of all parties involved, and it continues to be the top focus of the fire district.