Emergency Response Team Roles and Responsibilities

Posted on Fri, Jan 21, 2011

Forming a response team and assigning responsibilities is one of the crucial steps in emergency response planning.  If your emergency response team members are not familiar with their responsibilities, important response actions may be missed.

The first person on-scene will typically serve as the Incident Commander (IC), until relieved by a more senior person.

Responsibilities for the first person on-scene may include:

  • Taking appropriate personal protective measures
  • Notifying Supervisory Personnel and/or Incident Commander of the incident
  • Advising personnel in the area of any potential threat and/or initiate evacuation procedures
  • Eliminate potential ignition sources
Supervisory Personnel responsibilities may include:
  • Initiate initial response actions if they are the first person on the scene (see above)
  • Restrict access to the incident scene and surrounding area as the situation demands  Take any other steps necessary to minimize any threat to health and safety
  • Request medical assistance, if necessary
  • Verify substance released and obtain Material Safety Data sheets, as necessary
  • Identify and isolate source to minimize product loss
  • Coordinate further response actions with Incident Commander and local responders
Incident Commander responsibilities may include:
  • Activate the Emergency Response team
  • Activate additional response contractors and local resources
  • Evaluate the Severity, Potential Impact, Safety Concerns, and Response Requirements based on the initial information provided by the First Person On-Scene
  • Confirm safety aspects at site, including need for personal protective equipment, sources of ignition, and potential need for evacuation
  • Communicate and provide incident briefings to company superiors, as appropriate
  • Coordinate/complete additional internal and external notifications
  • Communicate with Emergency Response Team, as the situation demands
  • Direct response an cleanup operations

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The number of personnel required to staff the Emergency Response Team will depend on the size and complexity of the incident.  The duties of each position may be performed by the Incident Commander directly or delegated as the situation demands.  The Incident Commander should always be responsible for directing the response activities and should assume the duties of all the primary positions until the duties can be delegated to other qualified personnel. The more knowledgeable individuals are of their roles and responsibilities during an emergency event, the better prepared a team can be to implement a streamlined response.

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Tags: Emergency Preparedness, Crisis Management, Oil Spill, Training and Exercises, Emergency Management Program, School Emergency Planning