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Equipped for any emergency

The History Channel debuted a reality television series called Ice Road Truckers in 2007. The series chronicled the lives of a few drivers during the two-month driving season.

On the episode entitled “Midseason Mayhem” (episode five), one of Allen Scraba's drivers rolled a tanker truck on kilometer 72 along the Ingraham Trail — the narrow road connecting the city of Yellowknife to the Ice Road. The trip along the trail takes roughly one hour and can be the most difficult and treacherous portion of a trip.

“As our driver came around the corner, he swerved to miss an oncoming truck and his back wheel caught on the side of the slick road and the truck landed on its side,” Scraba said. “The safety services closed the road for a little bit and all of the trucks were waiting for the road to reopen. Whenever you have a situation like that, it's not good because the only way anyone makes any money is when the trucks are rolling.”

The accident occurred dangerously close to the Yellowknife River, the main water source for the city of Yellowknife. Scraba and Don Bietz, executive vice-president & COO of ECL Group of Companies Ltd (ARS Trucking & Welding's partner for delivering fuel to the Diavik Diamond Mine), arrived on the scene to assist with the recovery. A producer from the Ice Road Truckers show interviewed Bietz during the event.

“Obviously, bodily injury is number one, environment is number two, and property damage is number three,” Bietz told the producer.

Once everyone determined that the driver was alright, they turned their focus to the environment. Safety crews dug out some of the snow near the top of the tank trailer — the part of the vehicle facing the Yellowknife River — and created a snow barrier to contain fuel if there was a leak.

Next, they offloaded thousands of gallons of diesel into an empty tank trailer. This critical part of the operation was performed by one of Scraba's tractors outfitted with a Blackmer sliding vane transport pump.

“We came out with an empty tanker and used our pump to transfer the fuel,” Scraba said. “I wouldn't trust any other pump on our trucks than Blackmer. When you're out here in temperatures that reach minus 60 degrees and lower, you need a pump that you can depend on and that's Blackmer.”

The empty tanker was pulled onto its wheels and the crisis was averted thanks to quick action, proper planning, and reliable equipment. Not a drop of fuel was lost.

Related article: ARS braves Canadian Arctic hauling diesel to mines.

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