In a residential setting, one would call 911 for assistance during an emergency, which would summon the Police, EMS or Fire Department. But in an industrial setting where hazardous materials are involved, specialized resources are likely to be required. In the United States, the National Response Center is the 911 for spill related emergencies.
According to the National Response Center (NRC), its “primary function is to serve as the sole national point of contact for reporting all oil, chemical, radiological, biological, and etiological discharges into the environment anywhere in the US or its territories.”.
In addition to the federal assistance from the NRC, contracting with specialized local response resources are imperative. If a company does not own the necessary quantities of specialized response equipment, or requires additional equipment and personnel to control a worst case discharge spill scenario, U.S. Coast Guard certified OSROs (Oil Spill Removal Organizations) can provide equipment and additional personnel. Companies need to establish contracts with OSROs to provide necessary resources to assist in responding to a significant spill.
Other resources should also be identified and listed in your plans. These include, but are not limited to:
- Medical Services
- Waste management companies
- Equipment suppliers
- Environmental consultants
- Construction equipment
Internal and external corporate numbers, as well as any additional responders’ contact information should be included in your emergency response plan. In addition, a systematic approach to verifying external available equipment and contact information should be an ongoing process for those responsible for maintaining these plans.
For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Best Practices for Crisis Management.