Harnessing fresh horses for quicker water rescues

Enbridge vehicle donations benefit fire departments across U.S. Midwest

The Peninsula Fire Department is virtually surrounded by water.

Face almost any direction in the community of Cleveland, Oklahoma, and you’ll find an idyllic setting for boaters, swimmers, water skiers and fishers—whether it’s Keystone Lake, the Arkansas River, Cimarron River, Walnut Creek or Rock Creek.

It’s also a scenario that keeps fire chief Bob Sharp and his volunteer firefighters on their toes.

“Given our surroundings, we do quite a bit of boat rescue calls,” says Sharp.

The first responders with Peninsula FD now have some fresh horses to get their 16-foot recovery boat or their 28-foot, twin-engine rescue boat in the water. Recently, Enbridge donated one of our former fleet vehicles—a 2012 Chevrolet Silverado extended-cab, long-box pickup truck—to Sharp and his crew.

“We had an older Chevy Tahoe for pulling our boat, but it was on its last legs, you might say,” remarks Sharp. “The Silverado will come in handy for boat rescues, and we’re also using it as a medical first-response truck.”

Since it was established in 2002, Enbridge’s Safe Community program has invested about $8.5 million in North American emergency responder organizations, supporting investments in equipment, education and training.

And in addition to the Safe Community program, Enbridge also donates retired fleet vehicles to first responders near our pipelines and facilities when the opportunity arises.

In addition to Peninsula FD’s new wheels, we also recently handed over the keys of a 2006 Chevy Silverado 2500 to the Buffalo Rural Fire Department in Buffalo, Missouri. We’ll also be doing the same in the near future with three surplus Enbridge vehicles in the state of Illinois.

“Fire departments in the communities near our operations are generally volunteer-driven,” says Mike Moeller, senior director of Enbridge’s U.S. Midcontinent Region. “These people put their lives on the line every day. Through vehicle donations, and our Safe Community program, we give them the support we can, and set them up for success.”

Through Enbridge’s Public Awareness Program, we also work closely with first responders to provide pipeline-specific training and information. We stay in touch with first responders and strengthen our partnerships through meetings, training exercises, personal contact and information updates.