Fire Chief Presents Gas Well Preparedness Plan

Fire Chief Don Crowson presented a Natural Gas Well Preparedness and Response Plan to the City Council on Tuesday during their afternoon work session.

The chief told the council a gas well plan is needed due to the unique challenges for public safety, the rapid growth of drill sites, and the fact that they are located in urban settings near neighborhoods, schools, and businesses.  The chief expressed the need for additional well oversight, and expertise and emergency response capacity.

The chief’s plan calls for a system approach of three elements to be addressed: oversight, inspection, and response capacity.  It also calls for a unified partnership between the departments of Fire, Community Development and Planning, Water, and Public Works and Transportation.

“We see it as a system approach issue,” said Crowson.  “An active and continuous partnership with other City partners as we approach this issue from a preparedness and safety perspective, which is key to the Fire Department’s mission.”

The plan is expected to cost $800 thousand per year and be funded by a Natural Gas Well Operational Permit Fee, which is expected to be around $2,400 per well.  The plan costs will include hiring a natural gas well program manager, a natural gas well site safety and security fire inspector, and six fire fighters assigned and specially trained to handle natural gas well incidents.

Under the councils direction, Chief Crowson will report back at the next council afternoon work session on February 21 with information on the number of calls or incidents the Fire Department has responded to regarding natural gas wells, as well as feedback collected from gas well drillers.

For more details, click here to view the Chief’s presentation.

By Michelle Rice

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Gena Cannon

I am so glad the City of Arlington is preparing for emergency situations around gas wells. I live across from and within 300 feet of the LAKE ARLINGTON site.


Chief Crowson’s actions clearly demonstrate excellence, integrity a well as courage for the citizens of Arlington.

Public safety has not been adequately taken into consideration by the City Council in regards to drilling activities. It seems that it is and has been all too much about the money that the ‘big gas’ is bringing to town and too little about the negative consequences/dangers due to industrial activity in our neighborhoods.

Thank you for looking out for us Chief Crowson!