More than 200 people including first responders, contractors and gas line operators filled the auditorium at the Betty Carol Graham Technology Center Wednesday to get to know each before an incident might occur on one of the pipelines in the area.

The event was hosted by Alabama 811 in an effort to allow everyone to meet under friendly circumstances sharing a meal of catfish and chicken.

“We don’t want the first time first responders meet gas line operators to be in a response to a pipeline operation incident,” Alabama 811’s McKay Lyvers said. “Here they are able to talk and share contact information in a relaxed atmosphere.”

Lyvers travels the state to host similar programs as APACT (Alabama Pipeline Awareness Cooperative Training) preventive and education manager.

“There are 72 gas pipeline operators in the state,” Lyvers said. “We travel to all but one county doing this program. There are some federal regulations we have to provide to first responders on a yearly basis.”

Last year the program had a demonstration and Lyvers said APACT tries to do a demo once every three years in conjunction with the program.

Lyvers said the program in Alexander City is always well attended.

“We have more than 50 entities represented here tonight,” Lyvers said. “In addition to first responders, we have crews that may encounter gas lines. Alex City Schools maintenance department is here. The Alexander City Gas Department is always proactive in getting people here.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.

Staff Writer

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.