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ND Department of Emergency Services to contract Witt O'Brien's, LLC to develop a crude oil response preparedness report

Posted on 11/26/2014

Bismarck, ND - The ND Department of Emergency Services (NDDES) recently authorized Witt O'Brien's, LLC to address the state's preparedness and response capabilities specific to crude oil incidents.

Witt O'Brien's, LLC will conduct a study and ultimately offer recommendations for areas of improvement. The project will result in a comprehensive assessment of the State of North Dakota's risk related to current and projected shipments of Baaken crude oil by rail across the state and provide a report on preparedness status and needs to address the risk. Witt O'Brien's shall work with state agencies having authority and responsibility and other key stakeholders to produce a written report with findings and recommendations.

"This report will give a detailed preparedness assessment now and provide us information that will allow us to better plan for responses in the future," said Major General David Sprynczynatyk, Director, ND Department of Emergency Services. "We are an energy producing state and while efforts are ongoing by many agencies to ensure the safest possible transport of energy, we need to be able to provide the best possible response for the safety of the people of North Dakota when incidents happen."

Greg Wilz, Director, Division of Homeland Security, added that the information gathered and the recommendations made will help emergency managers at the local level and first responders be better prepared for response to crude oil incidents. Emergency managers and first responders have done a great job in the past and the report information will enhance their capability in the future.

The consolidated report will include, among other possible elements:

  • A summary of the state's readiness to prevent and respond to rail, roadway, pipeline, and water accidents involving crude oil;
  • Recommendations concerning statutory, regulatory, or administrative changes needed at the state level to better prevent and respond to accidents involving the transportation of crude oil by road, rail, water, or pipeline;
  • Recommendations concerning the role that local governments across the state have in protecting communities and residents from spills of crude oil shipped by road, rail, water, and pipeline; and
  • Recommendations concerning enhanced coordination between local, state, and federal agencies to improve North Dakota's capacity to prevent and respond to accidents involving the transportation of crude oil.


The report will accomplish its goals through the following:

Identify and engage stakeholders
Identify and understand the risks and vulnerabilities
Determine the desired prevention, preparedness, and response capabilities
Identify the gaps and areas for improvement
Develop an action/preparedness enhancement strategy


The report will take approximately 8 months to complete and will cost the agency $350,000 to complete. To learn more about NDDES, visit www.nd.gov/des. Questions may be directed to nddes@nd.gov.

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The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services provides 24/7 emergency communications and resource coordination with more than 50 lead and support agencies, private enterprise, and voluntary organizations to assist local jurisdictions in disaster and emergency response activities. It administers federal disaster recovery programs and the Homeland Security Grant Program.




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