Chesapeake Utilities breaks ground on safety training facility

February 15, 2024 By    
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From left: Johnny Hill, regional manager of operations, Florida Public Utilities; Mike Wojtuniak, owner of Engineer Permits Inc. in DeLand, Florida; Luke Flynn, Central Florida Building & Inspectors; Karen Chasez, mayor of DeBary, Florida; Jeff Householder, president, CEO and chairman of the board of directors, Chesapeake Utilities Corp.; Jim Pappalardo, DeBary council member; Patricia Stevenson, DeBary council member; and Jeff Sylvester, senior vice president, COO, Chesapeake Utilities. Photo by Hillary Turlington for Chesapeake Utilities Corp.

Chesapeake Utilities Corp. broke ground on its second safety training facility in DeBary, Florida, to serve its Florida subsidiaries Florida Public Utilities (FPU) and Florida City Gas.

Florida’s Safety Town will serve as a resource for training employees who build, maintain and operate the company’s energy infrastructure, as well as regional first responders. The facility will be modeled after Chesapeake Utilities’ Safety Town training facility in Dover, Delaware, which was completed in November 2020.

“Safety is our priority,” explains Jeff Householder, president, CEO and chairman of the board of Chesapeake Utilities. “Training with immersive experiences, real-life scenarios and authentic environments is essential preparation for our natural gas, propane and electric workers, as well as our local first responders. Our Safety Town facility in Delaware has demonstrated its vital role in enhancing the safety of our employees and our communities and equipping our community partners to respond to emergencies. The new facility in Florida will do the same, serving as an important resource for our company and the community.”

When constructed, Safety Town will include specialized learning environments, including simulations for hit line and gas leaks, service hookups, utility locating, leak detection and corrosion monitoring. The center will house technology-equipped training rooms, equipment and vehicle storage areas, and multiple shed homes that will present real-life scenarios faced by employees, contractors and first responders. The 1-acre training center is located next to the FPU office in DeBary, and construction is expected to be complete in Q4 2024.

Safety Town’s initial training focus will include:

  • Infrastructure integrity inspections.
  • Main installation, repair and maintenance.
  • Valve recognition and operation.
  • Meter and regulating station meter installation and repairs.
  • Propane tank training.
  • Underground utility line locating and excavation safety.
  • Emergency response coordination.

“Constructing Safety Town is an initiative that reflects our core values of safety and caring. We put people first, keep them safe and make a meaningful difference everywhere we live and work,” says Will Haffecke, general manager of Florida operations. “This facility, along with our training team, will provide the best possible safety preparation for our team members, first responders and other community partners.”

The company expects to identify additional training areas and evolve the curriculum once the facility is in operation.

It also has constructed two mobile safety training units based in DeBary and West Palm Beach, Florida. The mobile units allow safety training for contractors and community first-responder teams at their respective locations.

Chesapeake Utilities Corp. is a diversified energy delivery company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It offers sustainable energy solutions through its natural gas transmission and distribution, electricity generation and distribution, propane gas distribution, mobile compressed natural gas utility services and solutions and other businesses.

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