Inside Aera
Responsibility, Operations, People of Aera May 19, 2020

Ready for that emergency call

Whether you’re an employee or a passing motorist, Aera’s first responders could save your life

Aera employees practice emergency response in a drill at the San Ardo oil field last year.

Aera employees practice emergency response in a drill at the San Ardo oil field last year.

Chris Miller doesn’t go looking for emergencies.

But if one happens on or near Aera’s five oil fields, he and his team of trained responders are ready.

Miller is Aera’s corporate emergency response specialist. In his seven years with Aera, he’s been called out to attend to heart attacks, strokes, respiratory problems and the occasional on-the-job injury.

He and his team have also been first on the scene at automobile accidents on State Route 33 and other busy routes that pass through remote stretches of oilfield country.

“It doesn’t have to be an Aera employee that we respond to,” says Miller, a former firefighter and paramedic. “We’ve helped all kinds of people who’ve run into trouble near our leases.”

More recently, Miller and his team have prepared themselves for responding to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. That includes ensuring responders understand the latest guidance from public health officials and providing adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).

From call to action

Aera's Chris Miller, in red, helps direct a field drill for emergency responders in 2019. “Aera’s front-line responders are very good at handling emergencies,” he says.

Aera’s Chris Miller, in red, helps direct a field drill for emergency responders in 2019. “Aera’s front-line responders are very good at handling emergencies,” he says.

Aera’s first responders usually learn of an urgent situation when an onsite employee or contractor calls Aera’s 24-hour emergency number.

Callers know to use that special number rather than 9-1-1 for a quicker, more focused response. The number is posted on signs, hard hats and daily paperwork across Aera properties.

Miller and his front-line responders receive text and radio alerts for emergency incidents called in to the number. The quick communication is especially important in remote locations like Belridge, Midway Sunset, San Ardo and Coalinga, which may have long response times for ambulances and fire crews.

Those quick alerts often allow Aera’s responders to arrive first on the scene.

That’s what happened five years ago, when Miller and his emergency team received a call of a two-vehicle collision on Highway 33 adjacent to Aera’s Belridge property.

“They step up to be first responders because they care about their co-workers and the people who work with us.”

The Aera responders found two of the three victims in serious condition. The team immediately began treating them. The California Highway Patrol, ambulances and a crew from the Lost Hills fire station soon arrived. They shut down Highway 33 and called in a helicopter to fly out the most seriously injured victim.

“We all worked as one team,” Miller recalls. “It was a good example of how we work closely with public safety agencies that respond to calls on or near Aera property. We have a good working relationship with them. And all the victims survived.”

Volunteers who care

Most Aera locations have five to 15 trained first responders. They’re all volunteers who’ve taken on emergency response training on top of their regular Aera jobs.

“They step up to be first responders because they care about their co-workers and the people who work with us,” Miller says. “They believe in Aera’s commitment to exceptional care for people and the environment.”

As emergency responders, they must become certified in CPR and automated external defibrillator use. They also learn when and how to use oxygen tanks, EpiPens for allergic reactions and other basic first aid.

“We never want to see an accident or emergency,” says Miller. “But if we do, we’re prepared to provide quick, life-saving care anytime, anywhere.”

We live our safety motto that “Every day, everybody goes home alive and well!” / DID YOU KNOW? Aera Energy has been honored with the North American Maintenance Excellence Award and the AME Manufacturing Excellence Award.

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