Company builds a small neighborhood to provide realistic training scenarios
First responders and natural gas workers will benefit from a new Xcel Energy training center that will prepare workers for natural gas incidents and emergencies. The Xcel Energy Natural Gas Response Training Village features rows of small houses complete with gas meters, home appliances, and gas pipelines. The realistic setting will simulate more than 40 different types of gas leaks during full-scale emergency drills and specialized instruction.
“Ensuring the safety of our customers, our employees and our communities is our highest priority,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy - Minnesota. “This new training center will enhance public safety by providing our first responders with the skills that keep us safe.”
The natural gas village is located at the company’s existing Hugo, Minn., training center. Approximately 2,000 Xcel Energy workers, as well as first responders from Minn., Wis., N.D., and S.D., will receive training at the facility each year. In addition to instruction on repairing gas leaks, a “burn pit” will also help fire fighters learn new techniques to safely and quickly extinguish fires caused by natural gas.
“Our workers are on the front line of gas system safety and this facility will give them hands-on experience, strengthening the emergency response skills that ensure safety in our communities,” said Luke Litteken, senior vice president, Xcel Energy Gas Operations.
Xcel Energy operates more than 10,000 miles of natural gas infrastructure in Minnesota and serves more than 400,000 natural gas customers in the state.