Virginia Oil and Gas Assoc, & VA Dept. of Emergency Management natural gas emergency incident response exercise, Wed. in Buchanan County, Va
September 21st, 2015

Sept. 16, 2015, Vansant, VA —  More than 30 local and state agencies took part in the Virginia Oil and Gas Association (VOGA) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM)  natural gas emergency incident response exercise, Wednesday in Buchanan County, Va.

The training exercise, held at  Noah Horn Well Drilling’s office near Vansant, Va., was designed  to follow up on and validate the Southwest Virginia Natural Gas Emergency Incident Response Guide in response to gas well emergencies. The response guide was created last year after a roundtable event in Clintwood, Va. Like the previous event, this year’s exercise involved private sector partners, local emergency managers, emergency responders, local government entities, regional partners, and non-governmental organizations.

“Our agency (VDEM) has enjoyed  partnering with VOGA to create what we see as a great educational event which brings together so many different agencies — both public and private — to maintain optimal safety and responses in the case of a natural gas emergency,” said Willie Richardson, Chief Regional Coordinator with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “Our event has been well received by all our participants.”

The event included a fictitious tabletop scenario which was established to assess the ability of response partners to create an incident command structure to respond to the fictitious emergency which involved a fire on a natural gas well drilling rig.  Participating partners had to work through the scenario with applicable state and local plans, policies, and procedures as the scenario was updated throughout the day.

The group of 94 attendees represented more than 30 local and state agencies, including: local government representatives, local first responders from fire, rescue and law enforcement, hospitals, school systems, state agencies and non-governmental agencies.

The multiple agencies joined with members of Virginia’s natural gas industry to discuss the ability of response partners to integrate private sector Emergency Response Plans into local plans in response to the emergency event scenario.

“This event is part of what we hope will be an ongoing and open dialogue with first responders and other local and state agencies,” said Beth Stockner, VOGA Public Relations manager. “Our goal through events such as this is to bring together both public and private parties that could be responding if there was a natural gas emergency in order to assess each other’s capabilities and needs and ultimately to discuss roles and responsibilities in the implementation of an incident command structure. “

Participating agencies and entities in last week’s exercise included the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, Buchanan County Public Schools, Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, Buchanan General Hospital, Davenport Life Saving Crew, Buchanan County Department of Social Services, The Virginia Department of Mines Minerals and Energy, the Virginia Division of Gas and Oil, Oakwood Volunteer Fire Department, Olson Group, Patterson Fire Department, Russell Prater VFD, Richlands Fire and Rescue, Virginia Fire Marshal’s Office, Virginia Department of Fire Programs, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Corrections, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia State Police, Whitewood VFD and the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.

The Virginia Oil and Gas Association (VOGA) is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of companies, partnerships, individuals or other entities having an interest in the oil and gas industry and who are primarily engaged in the exploration, production, development, transportation and distribution of natural gas and oil in Virginia. 

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) works with local government, state and federal agencies and voluntary organizations to provide resources and expertise through the four phases of emergency management.

For more information on this exercise please contact Beth Stockner, Virginia oil and Gas Association


Beth Stockner Public Relations Manager Virginia Oil and Gas Association (276) 608-8224- Abingdon (276) 207-8284.- Norton