Partnership with local fire department increases safety at CHS terminal

CHS Terminal in Missoula, Montana

Aug 29, 2019

Fuel moves from two CHS refineries through a network of pipelines and terminals, including the CHS Terminal in Missoula, Mont., where 6 million gallons of gas and diesel fuel are stored and shipped via rail cars and tanker trucks. Throughout CHS pipeline and terminal facilities, partnerships between local emergency responders is ongoing. In April, terminal supervisor Chris Fink met with Casey Scott of the Missoula Fire Department to invite the team to do its annual hazardous materials refresher training at the terminal.

“We’re a small team of four employees. In an emergency event, we’d lean on local responders, especially during off-hours,” says Fink. “The doors at the CHS Missoula terminal are always open to Missoula’s first responders.” 

While all CHS employees at the terminal and many employees throughout the CHS Refineries, Pipelines and Terminals system are technician-level hazardous waste operations and emergency response (Hazwoper) certified, it’s partnerships like these that keep CHS facilities safe working environments, as well as educate and protect the communities in which CHS operates.   

Over the course of four days, the Missoula Fire Department held drills on site and received small group tours, which allowed terminal personnel to share information about the facility’s automated firefighting capabilities and its hands-on systems.  

The partnership allowed firefighters to give feedback on how the facility could be updated to help them in an emergency. For example, some firefighters said that labeling the foam building and electrical room would make the spaces easier to find in an emergency. “We took those requests seriously and have been able to accommodate all their suggestions,” says Fink.  

The event also educated firefighters on the CHS supply chain. “We wanted the firefighters to understand the reach CHS has, not only out of this location, but throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Many of them didn’t realize that we are creating connections by delivering refined products from Montana's Glacier National Park to Colorado out of this terminal alone. In doing that, we are helping to power communities across rural America,” says Fink.