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High Petroleum Supplies Advocate Oil Spill Response Plan Reviews

Posted on Thu, Apr 16, 2015

According to the March 27th U.S. Energy Information Administration's weekly status report, the petroleum supply continued to rise in the first quarter of 2015. Bloomberg Energy suggested that oil inventory is approximately 25% above its 5-year average. Many petroleum storage facilities are handling near capacity volumes and should evaluate preparedness measures and oil spill response plans to ensure the hazards associated with increased oil storage volumes are accurately and effectively addressed.

Operators of oil storage facilities should review their oil spill response plans to ensure that response procedures are consistent with local topography, sensitivities, and other site-specific details. This is especially critical when tank volumes and potential spill impacts are increasing. If properly planned, exercised, and executed, plans can protect lives, communities, and the environment, and reduce the financial impact associated with an oil spill.

The primary objectives of oil spill response plans are to:

  • Allow response personnel to prepare for and safely respond to spills
  • Ensure an effective and efficient response despite geographical challenges
  • Identify potential equipment, manpower, and other resources necessary to implement a spill response
  • Outline response procedures and techniques for combating the spill at a specific location
  • Improve regulatory compliance efforts

tanks-resized-600

Through facility assessments, best practices, and responder input, effective plans should incorporate a variety of aspects and perspectives of a response. As inventories increase, it is imperative that risks and threats be re-evaluated. The following 30 questions can be used as planning discussion points to develop or review oil spill plans:

  1. Have high-risk activities been identified, assessed and, if possible, mitigated?
  2. Have sensitive areas been identified and potential consequences been assessed for the current tank volumes?
  3. How would a potential spill with current tank volumes affect external resources?
  4. Did previous risk assessments utilize realistic scenarios, current oil volumes, and potential release locations?
  5. Have trajectory estimates been completed for a variety of tank volumes, and do they include potential weather scenarios?
  6. Do trajectory maps mimic local observations and historical tendencies?
  7. Have trajectory-timing estimates and recovery location points been included in oil spill planning process?
  8. Have Safety Data Sheets been updated per OSHA regulations, and are hazardous material properties been included in the planning process?
  9. Have processes been established for updating planning information, tank volumes, and required response resources?
  10. Have plot plans and area mapping been integrated with GIS data and knowledge?
  11. Are sensitive sites prioritized for protection?
  12. Have response times and limitations been set?
  13. Have alternate strategies and response procedures been identified because of increased potential spill volumes?
  14. Is there an agreement over response strategies and priorities between personnel and responders?
  15. Does the planning process incorporate best practices ecological risk assessment principles?
  16. Have response equipment needs been re-evaluated and defined?
  17. Is appropriate external spill response support available and are appropriate agreement documentation, such as contracts and memorandums of understanding (MOUs), in place?
  18. Are staff roles and responsibilities specified and communicated?
  19. Are personnel appropriately trained for allocated roles?
  20. Do plans include specific criteria for provisional tiered responses?
  21. Have the plans be thoroughly exercised with realistic scenarios?
  22. Is the response management team structure clear and able to be communicated?
  23. Is there an internal and external communication method established?
  24. Is exercise feedback incorporated into plan revisions?
  25. Are clear procedures in place to notify, assess, and initiate a response?
  26. Are communications backup systems available and described in the plan?
  27. How is information accessed during a response to determine size, shape, type, location, and movement of the oil?
  28. Are procedures in place for monitoring spill size, shape, type, location, movement, and impact
  29. Are waste management and demobilization processes in place and communicated?
  30. Are external responders included in plan preparations, exercises, and distribution of the plans prior to an emergency?
As oil storage volumes fluctuate, companies must utilize collaborative efforts in developing, evaluating, and exercising oil spill response plans. Worst case discharge collaborative planning among companies, responders, and the community provides opportunities for all entities to develop the teamwork and interpersonal relationships that can result in an effective, functional, and timely oil spill response.

TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: Response Plans, Oil Spill, Disaster Response

2015 Emergency Management Conferences to Consider

Posted on Thu, Feb 05, 2015

Since the 1990s, incidents, disasters, education, and technology have continued to alter emergency management at an increasing rate. Professionals who may have begun their careers in one of the three sub-disciplines of environment, health or safety (EHS), have been required to broaden their expertise beyond singular objectives and implement new systems, processes, training, and/or equipment to drive improvements across all operations.

Today, these professional are continually challenged to improve processes based on lessons learned, experiences, and industry advancements while balancing the profit/loss scale with sustainability. Because of these challenges, the opportunity for ongoing communication, collaboration, and education is a valuable tool.

These informative conferences can aid in fostering a culture of safety and preparedness. While many are industry specific, below is a list of 2015 conferences that can inspire EHS professionals and enhance their company programs. (The list reflects statements from the conference presenters and should not be considered a TRP Corp endorsement. Cost identified is the general registration fee for full conference access. Early registration discounts and other pricing may be available).

International Disaster Conference and Expo: February 10-12, 2015 (New Orleans, LA) -  This conference unites public and private sector professionals from around the world for discussions regarding policy, lessons learned, best practices, and forward thinking, resulting in the mitigation of loss of life and property when catastrophic events occur. $450 (private sector), $150 (public sector)

Society of Petroleum Engineers E&P Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference-America: March 16-18, 2015 (Denver, CO) - Since 1993, this conference has provided a setting for HSE professionals and experts to exchange knowledge, learn, and network. The event brings together industry, government, and academia to share best practices and innovative solutions.  Cost varies from $75 to $925

Disaster Recovery Journal Spring World: March 22-25, 2015 (Orlando, FL) - Industry leaders gather to explore topics that address some of today’s most challenging and pressing business continuity and disaster response issues. Break-out sessions are scheduled to address strategic, managerial, technical, information, advanced, and emergency response. $1295

Preparedness, Emergency Response and Recovery Consortium and Exposition: March 24-26, 2015 (Orlando, FL) - This focus of this conference is placed on coordination and collaboration between the various organizations and stakeholders, contributing to disaster preparedness, healthcare response, rescue and evacuation, sheltering in place, and recovery operations. The setting brings together healthcare, medical, public health, and volunteer emergency management personnel involved in disaster recovery and response efforts. Individuals representing governmental, public, and private sectors come together to discuss shared practices in preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery. $500

IEEE Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security: April 14-16, 2015 (Waltham, MA) - Brings together innovators from leading academic, industry, business, Homeland Security Centers of Excellence, and government programs to provide a forum to discuss ideas, concepts, and experimental results. Showcases emerging technologies in cyber-security; attack and disaster preparation, recovery, and response; land and maritime border security; and biometrics and forensics. $265-$535

Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference: April 14-16, 2015 (Tacoma, WA) -  The Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference (a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization) is the largest and most successful regional emergency preparedness conference in the Pacific Northwest. Partners in Emergency Preparedness annually hosts nearly 700 people representing business, schools, government, the nonprofit sector, emergency management professionals, and volunteer organizations. $425

Continuity Insights Management Conference:  April 20-22, 2015 (Scottsdale, AZ) - This conference provides the opportunity for strategic business continuity discussions, where professionals can learn from and network with those responsible for the integrity, availability, resilience, and security of their organizations. The conference includes a review of the latest technologies and practices, and the ability to earn additional certification with post-conference workshops. $1295-$1495

World Conference on Disaster Management: June 8-11, (Toronto, ON Canada) - Celebrating its 25th anniversary, this conference delivers a global perspective on current and emerging issues. Presentations cover practice, research, and innovation in emergency management, business continuity and crisis communications. $350

Volunteer Protection Programs Participants’ Association: (VPPPA): August 24-27, 2015 (Grapevine, TX) - Encourages and provides opportunities for EHS professionals to network, learn, and advance as leaders in occupational safety and health issues. Participants range from safety and health managers, employee safety team members, industrial hygienists, union representatives, consultants, environmental health specialists, and human resource managers Government agency representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Department of Energy (DOE) are also available for networking and education. (Cost not release by publication date.)

IAEM-USA 60th Annual Conference & EMEX 2012: November 13-18, 2015 (Las Vegas, NV) - Partnering conference of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMEX) that provides a forum for current trends and topics, information about the latest tools and technology, and advances IAEM-USA committee work. Sessions encourage stakeholders at all levels of government, the private sector, public health, and related professions to exchange ideas on collaborating to protect lives and property from disaster.  More than 2,500 participants are expected to attend this 63rd conference. (Cost not release by publication date.)

Clean Gulf: November 10-12, 2015 (New Orleans, LA) - Opportunity for companies, regulatory agencies, and associations involved in exploration, production, shipping, transportation or storage of petroleum, petrochemicals or hazardous materials to view the latest products, services and technologies, as well as hear about the latest trends and developments in the oil spill response industry. This event is co-located with the Deepwater Prevention & Response Conference. (Cost not released by publication date.)

For a free response planning guide, click the image below:

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Choosing a Consultant, Conference, Emergency Management, Training and Exercises, Disaster Response

The Importance of Response Plan Training for the First Responder

Posted on Thu, Jan 22, 2015

Any employee has the potential to be put in a first responder role in the event of an emergency at the office, jobsite, or facility.  As a result, all employees should be trained in response measures appropriate for site-specific vulnerabilities and identified risks. The rapid mobilization and proficiency of initial actions, as well as response procedure familiarity is essential in order to minimize potential chaos, scenario consequences, and plausible chain-reaction events.

In order to avoid the onset of panic or prolong emergency circumstances, necessary and effective reactive measures should become second nature to any potential initial responder. Familiarity through training and exercises can combat the natural effects of stress in tense situations. Having a well-rehearsed emergency plan enables efficient and effective response coordination, reduces losses, and can limit the impact to employees, the environment, and surrounding community.

Efforts must be made to train non-response team members in initial response actions and the appropriate initiation procedures. Any employee or contractor, upon discovering a significant event or condition that requires urgent response from outside trained personnel, should be trained to take the suggested initial response actions listed below:

Initial Response Actions:

  1. Warn others in the immediate area through verbal communication and/or activate local alarms.

  2. Take immediate personal protective measures (PPE, move to safe location, etc.).

  3. Report the emergency to Security or 9-1-1, depending on company policy.

  4. Implement local response actions (process shutdowns, activate fire protection systems, etc.) if safe to do so, and consistent with level of training and area specific procedures.

Industrial facility employees often encounter unique, site-specific hazards, and potential threats, unlike those in other fields. Specialized training must complement response team roles and responsibilities in order to address these specific vulnerabilities and risks. But despite an industrial setting, not all employees will be assigned to a formal response team.

Employees who may be exposed to hazardous substances are required to be HAZWOPER certified. HAZWOPER, an acronym for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard, communicates the required training that addresses hazardous operations and potential spills or releases. The intent of the HAZWOPER standard is to protect workers engaged in "Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard." (29 CFR 1910.120(a)(1)(v)).  However, this does not mean that all HAZWOPER certified employees are responsible for terminating a release. According to the standard, the following first responder levels are not trained to terminate a hazardous incident.

The Awareness Level:  According to OSHA, the first responders at the “awareness level” must demonstrate competency in areas such as recognizing the presence of hazardous materials in an emergency, the risks involved, and the role they play in their employer’s plan.

Who should be trained? This level is applicable for persons who, in the course of their normal duties, could be the first on the scene of an emergency involving hazardous material. Responders at the awareness level are expected to recognize the presence of hazardous materials, protect themselves, call for trained personnel, and secure the area without engagement.

Individual companies can set their own hourly training requirements; however, employees must be capable of demonstrating the following:

  • What hazardous substances are, and associated risks during an incident

  • The potential outcomes associated with an emergency when hazardous substances are present

  • Ability to recognize the presence of hazardous substances in an emergency

  • Ability to identify the hazardous substances, if possible

  • The role of the first responder awareness individual in the employer's emergency response plan, including site security and control and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Emergency Response Guidebook

  • Ability to realize the need to make appropriate notifications for additional resources

The Operations Level: Operations level responders meet and exceed the competency level of the awareness responder. Operational responders are trained to respond in a defensive fashion without actually trying to terminate the release. Their function is to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading, and prevent exposures.

Who should be trained? These responders are part of the initial response for the purpose of protecting nearby persons, the environment, and/or property from the effects of the release.   Operations may receive additional training in HAZMAT/CBRNE defensive techniques of absorption, damming and diking, diverting, retention, vapor dispersion and suppression. They may also be trained in basic decontamination procedures and PPE.

First responders at the operational level should complete the 8-hour HAZWOPER training course or have had sufficient experience to objectively demonstrate competency in the following areas:

  • Basic hazard and risk assessment techniques

  • How to select and use proper personal protective equipment

  • Basic hazardous materials terms

  • How to perform basic control, containment and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of the resources and personal protective equipment available with their unit

  • How to implement basic decontamination procedures

  • The relevant standard operating procedures and termination procedures

For a free download on conducting an effective exercise, click here or the image below.

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: OSHA HAZWOPER, Facility Response Plan, Response Plans, Facility Management, Disaster Response, Workplace Safety, Chemical Industry, HSE Program

Response Plan Tip: Ensure Processes and Communications Equipment Align

Posted on Thu, Nov 27, 2014

The fastest way to turn an incident, crisis, or emergency into a prolonged disaster is to experience a communications breakdown.  In order to minimize impacts and rapidly respond to circumstances, companies must ensure communication processes and procedures are clearly defined and understood, and associated equipment is functional.

While every effort should be made to train employees on response processes and procedures for probable emergency scenarios relevant to your operations, training employees on initial site-specific responses included in your response plan is fundamental to your emergency management program. The need to swiftly communicate accurate and pertinent information is common to all emergency scenarios, despite operational function. Information, at a minimum should include:

  • Contact number to initiate report and response needs
  • Location of incident
  • Type of incident (medical, fire, oil spill, etc.)
  • Casualties or injured parties

The initial responder, or first person on-scene, will be the first initiator of emergency communications. While this individual may have extensive training and response knowledge, most likely, the initial responder is not specifically trained for response. As a result, all employees should be trained in initial response processes, procedures, and communication expectations.  Individuals who demonstrate a clear understanding of the communication plan, emergency procedures, and assigned responsibilities are better prepared to implement effective communication and initiate a streamlined response. Detailed information should be readily available to facility personnel to ensure all emergency managers, response personnel, and applicable agencies (ex. National Response Center) are quickly notified in the event of an incident.

Once initial response processes and procedures are established, ongoing communication is critical in order to assess, direct, and respond to the incident. Facilities must have standardized and exercised modes of communicating.  The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) describes standard communications response equipment options that may be used during an incident, emergency, or disaster. The following options range from basic to state-or the art technology:

Runners: Individuals carrying written messages from one location to another. 

LIMITATIONS:

  • Distance and time
  • Requires written information for accuracy
  • Availability
  • Requires familiarity with the area

Landline telephones: Analog and digital phones connected by physical lines. (Note: Some telephone service providers utilize modems for connecting landlines. Check with your individual service provider)

LIMITATIONS
  • Not mobile
  • System overloads easily
  • Network susceptible to physical damage
  • May be affected by power failure

Cellular/Smart phones: Mobile digital phones connected by signals transmitted by cellular towers. Capable of transmitting short messaging service (SMS). In many cases text messages will go through when your call may not.

LIMITATIONS
  • Towers may fail due to power outage or damage
  • System overloads easily
  • Requires knowledge of responder phone numbers
  • May be dependent on landlines

Satellite Phone: Mobile phones that use signals transmitted by satellites.  If other phone systems are down, can only communicate locally with other satellite phones  

LIMITATIONS

  • Expensive
  • Requires visibility to sky or building with compatible antenna
  • Potential diminished voice quality or latency

Two-way radios: Handheld, mobile, or base-station radios used for communicating on radio frequencies; many require licensure by the FCC. Below are a few examples of the different two-way radio types as described by FEMA:

RELIABILITY:

  • Family Radio Service (FRS): Have a very limited range; useful only for intra-team communications
  • General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS): Have a greater range than FRS radios and signals can be improved with antennas and repeaters
  • Multiple-Use Radio Service (MURS): Only 5 channels available for use
  • Citizen Band (CB): Have 40 channels and affordabl

LIMITATIONS:

  • Family Radio Service (FRS): Cannot alter radio (no antennas) = limited range
  • General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS):
    • Requires a license (one per family)
    • Intended for family use
    • Some business licenses are grandfathered
  • Multiple-Use Radio Service (MURS): More expensive than FRS/GMRS radio
  • Citizen Band (CB):  Limited range

Computer-based communications: Information may be transmitted over the Internet or with runners via USB drives

LIMITATIONS:
  • May require internet connectivity
  • Requires specific hardware
  • Requires power source for long use although solar power options are becoming increasingly available and affordable.

In the event Internet connectivity is terminated or inaccessible, emergency managers must have alternative means to access plans. Redundant data-centers, scheduled downloads, and ancillary security measures must be a part of any emergency management program based on an intranet or cloud.

Internet availability enables additional emergency communications through social media. From communicating facility closures in the event of bad weather or evacuation orders as a result of a hazardous spill, greater Internet accessibility allows for companies to streamline emergency communications to a wider audience with minimal administrative effort.

NOTE: The National Response Center (NRC) is the sole federal point of contact for spills of hazardous materials. NRC, which is staffed on a 24-hour basis, was given the responsibility of receiving incident reports involving hazardous materials regulated under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act for the transportation of hazardous materials (49 CFR 171), for natural gas and other gases transported by pipeline (49 CFR 191), and for liquids transported by pipeline (49 CFR 195). All facilities involved in these activities should include the National Response Center reporting number, (800) 424-8802, in the notification section of an emergency response plan.

For a free download on Best Pratices for Crisis Management, click the image below:

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: Power Failure, Resiliency, Communication Plan, Social Media, Disaster Response, Notification Systems

SMART Response Planning in an Era of Advanced Communications

Posted on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

Within the past few years, technology has allowed for an increasing number of companies to automate emergency preparedness and response processes. However, in an era of instantaneous information, effective communications is still one of the greatest logistical problems during an emergency.

Without clear and effective communications, first responders may:

  • respond to the wrong location
  • be unable to effectively coordinate resources  
  • misunderstand the severity of a situation
  • be ill-equipped for the actual situation
  • find themselves in danger for which they are unprepared  

Advanced technology for emergency preparedness and response has included everything from gas-leak sensors and drones, to social media integration and sophisticated emergency management software. The ability to automate a myriad of emergency response activities, including expediting communications with local first responders, safety officials, and those affected by an incident enables companies to potentially minimize the impacts of an emergency on individuals, facilities, and the community.

Through pre-planning, a communication plan can be fully integrated into the overall response plan. Companies must be certain that response plans are accessible in a variety of formats in order for necessary process and procedures to be implemented. If the plan is not accessible, prepared information cannot be conveyed and responses may be inadequate. Best practices should be continual reviewed in order to improve optimal communication methods for each scenario. Communication pre-planning should include, but is not limited to, the following:

1. Notification and Activation methods: Meet with employees and responders to discuss notification and activation methods.  Do not assume that responders identify with current company communication policies, context of emergencies communications, or the crisis communication plan. Ensure employees are aware of applicable alarms, muster requirements, implications of various situations, and response expectations. Through communication, employees can comprehend the safety measures necessary to limit exposures and prevent unnecessary harm. With company-approved protocols in place, engaging in social media for emergency communications can allow for:  

  • Speed: Direct communication between informants and those who need information enables responders to react faster, minimizing the duration of the emergency.
  • Relevance: Disseminate the right message to the right audience
  • Accuracy: Ensure information is correct, confirmed by company sources, and backed up by facts or direct observation. Multiple informants can confirm accuracy or inaccuracies.

2. Contact Verifications: Primary and secondary contact information should be verified for personnel, responsible agencies, and contracted responders. Verification should be conducted on a periodic basis in order to maintain accurate and applicable information. Communication equipment, such as hand held radios and satellite phones, should be functionally tested periodically, to ensure they are available when necessary.

3. Strategic Considerations: Emergency managers should establish a strategic response planning framework, with checklists and response criteria that will guide the communications decision-making process to allow for an effective response. Communications should:

  • Identify internal and external methods and procedures
  • Confirm emergency contact information
  • Identify multiple forms of communication methods (text, e-mail, cell phones)

4. Stabilization: Effective communications is the bridge to stabilizing an emergency situation. The stabilization phase may include media/public relations and a crisis communication plan. In this 24/7 information age, a communications plan should include informational jurisdiction decisions about what to release, by whom, and when. Information MUST be accurate and timely in order to diffuse rumors.

Unfortunately, during the height of an incident, bleak realities and raw emotion may alter communication agreements and promote misinformation. Avoid public power struggles and confusion by establishing a clear and exercised understanding of communication responsibilities before a situation occurs.

5. Recovery: The lines of communications need to remain open to return to a “business as usual” level. In order for a full recovery, communication should include:

  • Accurate damage assessment reports
  • Response personnel reports
  • Demobilization techniques
  • Employee reentry procedures
  • Lessons learned debriefings

Be prepared for your next incident, download TRP Corp's free white paper, "A Step-by-Step Guide: Be Prepared for Your Next Incident".

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Response Plans, Communication Plan, Disaster Response

7 Key Points for Industrial Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Posted on Thu, Aug 14, 2014

Process and procedural effectiveness and efficiency are key elements in determining a company’s success. Critically detailed reviews, evaluations, and improvements to your processes and procedures can contribute to overall corporate viability and profitability. Process and procedural effectiveness and efficiency are also critical when it comes to developing and implementing business continuity plans.

The goal of business continuity planning is to efficiently restore operations through a predetermined, systematic approach. Unfortunately, many companies lack adequate recovery planning, and recuperative procedures to restore critical information, essential processes, and normal business operations within an acceptable recovery time frame. The lack of business continuity preparedness can adversely affect corporate reputation, financial stability, and overall resilience.

The business continuity recovery process is typically a sequence of concurrent activities and interdependent activities that facilitate measured advances toward a successful recovery. Decisions and priorities set early in the recovery process often have a cascading effect on the evolution and speed of the recovery progress and business continuity efforts. Because recovery timeliness has a direct impact on operational viability, pre-planning business continuity implementation processes and intended procedures is critical.

Developing relationships and common understandings of roles and responsibilities prior to a disaster increases post-disaster collaboration and unified decision-making, and streamlines the recovery process. A fully coordinated recovery plan may require utilizing internal and external stakeholders. Business unit management and staff, in conjunction with external participants, must be familiar with and trained in the recovery procedures in order to effectively implement directives and maintain minimal business continuity.

Recovery time and outcomes vary based on incident circumstances, challenges, and priorities. A successful disaster recovery can be characterized as the return of operations to pre-disaster conditions. FEMA’s National Disaster Recovery Framework provides key factors that contribute to a successful recovery.  With secured sharing abilities, a web-based, database driven planning system can aid in the management and communication of the key factors of a business continuity recovery process. These factors include:

1. Effective Decision-making and Coordination:

  • Confirm roles and responsibilities of recovery team and stakeholders
  • Examine recovery alternatives, address conflicts and make informed and timely decisions that best achieve recovery
  • Establish metrics for tracking progress, ensuring accountability and reinforcing realistic expectations among stakeholders
  • Track progress, ensure accountability, and make procedural adjustments as necessary

2. Integration of Community Recovery Planning Processes:

  • Engage all stakeholders in pre-disaster business continuity and recovery planning, training, and exercises
  • Establish processes and criteria for identifying and prioritizing key recovery actions and projects

3. Well-managed Recovery:

  • Leverage and coordinate recovery teams, local response groups, government liaisons, and non-governmental organizations to accelerate the recovery process and avoid duplication of efforts
  • Surge staffing and management structures as necessary to support the workload during recovery
  • Establish leadership guidance, including the shift of roles and responsibilities, for the transition from response operations to recovery, and eventually a return to a normal (or new normal) operational state
  • Ensure regulatory compliance throughout recovery process

4. Proactive Community Partnerships, Public Participation, and Public Awareness:

  • Ensure transparency and accountability
  • Communicate recovery objectives (short, intermediate and long-term) and applicable detailed information to employees, stakeholders, and community members

5. Well-administered Financials:

  • Clearly identify funding sources and financial recovery processes
  • Evaluate and present external programs that can provide financial assistance to aid in the recovery progress
  • Allow for budgetary flexibility, yet maintain adequate financial monitoring and accounting systems
  • Implement processes and systems that detect and deter fraud, waste, and abuse.

6. Organizational Flexibility:

  • Institute scalable and flexible processes that can align with recovery operations objectives
  • Institute business processes that can evolve and adapt to address the changing landscape of post-disaster environments

7. Resilient Rebuilding:

  • Invoke “Lessons Learned” in the restoration phase to minimize risks and threats, and improve response, recovery and restoration efforts. 

For a free Response Procedures Flow Chart download, click the image below:

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Tags: Business Continuity key points, Business Continuity, Business Continuity Plan, Disaster Recovery, Disaster Response, Business Disruption

Response Planning Discussion Points: The Path to Preparedness

Posted on Mon, Feb 03, 2014

Through timely internal audits, facility assessments, attentive training and exercise programs, and best practices, response plans can be a working reflection of facility compliance and corporate preparedness. Necessary response documentation and plans established prior to an emergency allow for a comprehensive review of processes and procedures, and can result in an improved response to actual emergencies. The following questions, while not all-inclusive, can be used as planning discussion points to identify necessary response elements in order to develop or assess emergency response plans:

Compliance

  • What agencies and specific regulations apply to my location(s)?
  • If applicable, have material safety data sheets (MSDS) been updated and have their properties been included in the planning process?
  • Has an inspection taken place, and if so, have non-compliant issues been mitigated?
  • Will an internal compliance audit(s) be conducted?
  • Is personnel training up-to-date and compliant with site-specific requirements?

Risk Assessment

  • What are the current high-risk activities at the location?
  • Can high-risk tasks or conditions be mitigated? (The higher the probability and severity of risk, the higher the emphasis should be on corrective actions)
  • Have environmentally sensitive areas been identified and potential consequences been assessed?
  • Did risk assessment utilize realistic scenarios to define spill and release volumes and locations?
  • Are employees made aware of hazards associated with specific workplace process, materials, or location(s)?

Supply Chain

  • Are processes in place to monitor internal and external supply chains?
  • Is external spill response support necessary and available?
  • Have response equipment needs been evaluated and defined?
  • How would a potential spill affect both internal and external resources?
  • Have back up suppliers been identified and communicated with?

Training

  • Are personnel appropriately trained for their allocated roles?
  • Have the plans been thoroughly exercised with realistic scenarios that test training comprehension?
  • Is the response management team structure clear and able to be communicated?
  • Are external responders included in plan preparations, exercises, and distribution of the plans prior to an emergency?
  • Are exercises utilized to identify effective efforts and inefficiencies in response to ever-changing and site-specific scenarios?
  • Does training include documenting and communicating response actions, management decision, and tracking of resources?

Response Elements

  • Are clear procedures in place to notify, assess, and initiate a response?
  • Are individual responders and their contact information verified for accuracy?
  • Can approved stakeholders easily access response plans?
  • Have response times and limitations been set?
  • Do response elements address necessary updates, such as site construction, personnel changes, and supply chain changes?
  • Have internal and external communication methods been identified?
  • Are communications backup systems available and described in the plan?
  • Are staff roles and responsibilities specified and communicated?
  • Have alternate strategies and response procedures been identified?
  • Are processes and procedures identified in the plans to assess and monitor size, shape, type, location, and movement of a spill or release?
  • If applicable, have tactical response details been included in the planning process for incidents that expand beyond the confines of the facility?
  • Do trajectory maps mimic local observations and historical tendencies?
  • Do trajectory estimates include potential weather scenarios?
  • Are sensitive sites prioritized for protection?
  • Do plans include specific criteria for provisional tiered responses?
  • Are waste management and demobilization processes communicated?

Documentation

  • Have processes been established for updating planning information prior to an emergency and during a response?
  • Have plot plans and area mapping been integrated with GIS data and knowledge?
  • Are appropriate agreement documentation, such as contracts and memorandums of understanding (MOUs), in place?
  • Has exercise feedback/lessons learned been incorporated into plan revisions?
  • Are training and exercise records, and applicable regulatory required documentation up-to-date and accessible?
  • Are necessary Incident Command (ICS) forms and company paperwork readily available for response documentation?
For a free download of a Response Procedures Flow Chart, click the image below:
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Tags: Response Plans, Crisis Management, Facility Management, Emergency Response Planning, Safety, Disaster Response, Business Disruption

Flood Disaster Management for Oil and Gas Facilities

Posted on Thu, Oct 31, 2013

From September 9 through September 13, 2013, a series of heavy storms settled over parts of Colorado, bringing flash floods and widespread destruction. Over the five-day period, parts of Boulder County received over 17 inches of rain, with an unprecedented 12 inches of rain occurring in one day. Rain totals in numerous Denver suburbs exceeded 20 inches, compounding the havoc from the storms. The catastrophic event created swollen rivers and flash flooding that cut off towns, destroyed homes, crumbled transportation infrastructures, ravaged sewer lines, and damaged oil and gas production facilities.

As a result of the flooding, the local oil and gas industry was forced into flood disaster management mode. Many oil and gas wells and facilities were shut-in to reduce potential impact to the environment, however the force of the flooding caused thousands of gallons of oil to be spilled. According to The Colorado Department of Natural Resources’ October 8th report, the agency was tracking 13 notable releases caused by the extensive flood waters, with oil releases totaling 43,134 gallons or 1,072 barrels.

Experts believe the release totals are likely to rise, as state oil and gas commission inspectors evaluate additional areas affected by flooding. The agency developed “flood impact zone” mapping which expanded its initial flood assessment area. The report states, “This is not due to an increase in impacted locations, but is an exercise designed to use an excess of caution in ensuring any location potentially affected receives an assessment and evaluation by Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) personnel.”

The flood impact presents an opportunity for governments agencies, LEPC’s, and companies to review response plans, assess response procedures, and identify what lessons can be learned from the disaster. Alan Gilbert, a director at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, stated that regulators were examining their response to the disasters. "We are going to have a formal review. We'll look at what worked and what didn't work."

However, the extent of the flooding has highlighted effective mitigation measures. Doug Hock, spokesman for Encana, a North American energy producer, identified a lessons’ learned concept from their Front Range operations.  Hock told The Daily Sentinel that fences are typically installed on well pads when operations are located in densely populated areas. While Encana did sustain damage from the flooding, the damage was limited at the Front Range facility because the fences kept out floating debris. “It was kind of an ah-ha, light-bulb moment to say, going forward we should do this because it helped protect those pads,” Hock said.

On October 4, 2013, the COGCC released a notice stating that Level 1 and Level 2 facilities in the flood impact zone shall be subject to a Compliance Plan. The Compliance Plan includes start-up procedures, certification that the procedures have been completed, and submission of a Notice of Start-up.

The following COGCC recommended start-up procedures could be utilized as a guide for restoring operations after a flooding incident has occurred.  (Note: Site-specific operations may dictate specialized start-up procedures and applicable regulatory compliance requirements).

Fluid Inventory

  • A status report shall include fluid inventory assessment to compare pre-flood volumes to post-flood volumes.
  • Inventory list shall include review of tank gauging records and or remote monitoring data.
  • The inventory assessment shall occur before facility is restarted or before tanks are moved from the location and reported on a status report.
  • Inconsistent volumes may trigger spill reporting.

 Flowlines and Pipelines

  • Pressure test and document the integrity of flowlines. Submit pressure test results of any segment that fails integrity test and include plans for repair or replacement.
  • Pressure test all pipeline segments and onsite production equipment.
  • Pressure test flow lines to the maximum anticipated operating pressure

Tanks

  • Stabilize tanks
  • Check all valves and piping on the drain, and all inlet and tank load valves
  • Pressure test oil dump line(s) to tanks to the maximum anticipated operating pressure.
  • Each oilfield tank must be inspected to ensure integrity. If damage is known or suspected (the tank, flanges and/or any other fitting), additional integrity testing such as Magnetic/Flux Leakage (MFL), ultrasonic thickness, or weld inspections may be required or replace tanks as necessary.
  • All oilfield tanks shall be labeled with the following:
    • Name of operator
    • Operator’s emergency contact telephone number
    • Tank capacity
    • Tank contents
    • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Label
    • Information shall be on tanks and legible from 100 feet
  • All equipment including buried vessels and sumps shall be anchored
  • Each buried or partially buried sump, vault, vessel shall be tested to ensure integrity using static level test methods.

Secondary containment

  • Shall be installed at tanks, sumps, and partially buried vessels.
  • Where secondary containment has been damaged and will be replaced/repaired, the containment shall be constructed of metal, concrete or other armored material such as compacted earth with gravel protective covering. Material must be sufficiently impervious to contain released fluids and resist damage from floodwaters.
  • Tanks shall be anchored using an engineered design.
  • Submit Form 4 with GPS coordinates for all tank batteries taken from southeast corner of battery. Include listing of all wells producing to the battery.
  • Storm water management BMPs shall be installed.

Equipment

  • Visually inspect all equipment.
  • Check for separator stabilization on pad.
  • Check regulators; connections on separator inlet and outlet to meter; and high/low valves to ensure that they are functioning correctly.
  • Check flame arrestors and fire tubes for debris.
  • Integrity testing to the maximum anticipated operating pressure shall be conducted for the following equipment:
    • Separator equipment
    • Heater treaters
  • Integrity testing shall be conducted according to industry standards and documented in final compliance certification.
  • All separator equipment shall have general secondary containment. It shall consist of metal, concrete, or earthen material that is sufficiently impervious to contain released fluids and to resist damage from wind and water erosion.
  • All separators shall have NFPA Hazard Diamond label.
  • Check stability of emission control device. Inspect pilot light(s), ignition control equipment and flame arrestor. As necessary, disassemble and clean affected parts. Clear line from production tanks to emission control device
  • Check stability of Vapor Recovery Unit and that the unit is operating safely and efficiently.
  • Check suction and discharge lines.
  • Safely remove debris from all equipment in order to provide unrestricted access.
  • Repair damaged fencing around equipment as needed
  • Ensure onsite gathering equipment has integrity
For a free white paper on "Best Practices for Designing a Crisis Management Program", click the image below:
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Tags: Oil Spill, Regulatory Compliance, Emergency Management Program, Flood Preparedness, Disaster Response

Business Continuity and Emergency Response Planning Acronyms

Posted on Mon, Oct 21, 2013

Acronyms are a shorthand communication method used within the emergency management industry. This list of common acronyms is often used in response plans and/or business continuity plans. Those utilizing these plans should be familiar with the language.

ACP

Area Contingency Plan

API

American Petroleum Institute

BBL

Barrel

BCP

Business Continuity Plan

BLEVE

Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion

BIA

Business Impact Analysis

BOP

Blowout Preventer

BPD

Barrels per Day

BSSE

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

BST

Business Support Team

CAER

Community Awareness and Emergency Response

CFR

Code of Federal Regulations

CM

Crisis Manager

CMT

Crisis Management Team

COTP

Captain of the Port

CP

Command Post

CWA

Clean Water Act

DOM

Dock Operations Manual

DOT

Department of Transportation

DR

Disaster Recovery

DWT

Deadweight Tons

E&P

Exploration and Production

EAP

Emergency Action Plan

EMT

Emergency Management Team

EOC

Emergency Operations Center

EPA

Environmental Protection Agency

EPCRA

Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act

EPZ

Emergency Planning Zone

ERAP

Emergency Response Action Plan

ERP

Emergency Response Plan

ETA

Estimated Time of Arrival

FOG

Field Operations Guide

FOSC

Federal On-Scene Coordinator

FPP

Fire Pre-Plan

FRP

Facility Response Plan

FSC

Finance Section Chief

GOM

Gulf of Mexico

GPM

Gallons Per Minute

HAZMAT

Hazardous Materials

HAZWOPER

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response

HMIS

Hazardous Material Information System

H2S

Hydrogen Sulfide

IBRRC

International Bird Rescue Research Center

IAP

Incident Action Plan

IC

Incident Commander

ICP

Incident Command Post, Integrated Contingency Plan

ICS

Incident Command System

IDLH

Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health

IMO

International Marine Organization

IMT

Incident Management Team

IPIECA

International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association

JIC

Joint Information  Center

LEL

Lower Explosive Level

LEL

Lower Explosive Limit

LEPC

Local Emergency Planning Committee

LEPD

Local Emergency Planning District

LNG

Liquefied Natural Gas

LPG

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

LSC

Logistic Section Chief

MOU

Memorandum of Understanding

MSDS

Material Safety Data Sheet

NCP

National Contingency Plan

NGL

Natural Gas Liquid

NIMS

National Incident Management System

NIOSH

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

NM

Nautical Miles

NOAA

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NPDES

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

NRC

National Response Center

NRDA

National Resource Damage Assessment

NRS

National Response System

NRT

National Response Team

OPA 90

Oil Pollution Act of 1990

OSC

On-Scene Coordinator/Commander, Operations Section Chief

OSHA

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OSRO

Oil Spill Removal Organization

OSRP

Oil Spill Response Plan

PE

Professional Engineer

PFD

Personal Flotation Device

PHMSA

Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration

PIAT

Public Information Assistance Team

PIO

Public Information Officer

POB

Persons on Board

PPE

Personal Protective Equipment

PREP

Preparedness for Response Exercise Program

PRP

Pandemic Response Plan

PSC

Planning Section Chief

PSI

Pounds per Square Inch

QI

Qualified Individual

RCT

Regional Crisis Team

ROC

Record of Changes

RPO

Recovery Point Objective

RTO

Recovery Time Objective

RP

Responsible Party

RRC

Regional Response Centers

RRT

Regional Response Team (Federal)

RRI

Regional Resource Inventory

SAR

Search and Rescue

SARA

Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act

SCAT

Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team

SCBA

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus

SERC

State Emergency Response Commission

SITREP

Situation Report Message

SMT

Spill Management Team

SOLAS

Safety of Life at Sea

SONS

Spill of National Significance

SOPEP

Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan

SOSC

State On-Scene Coordinator

SOT

Standard Operating Procedure

SPCC

Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan

SSC

Scientific Support Coordinator

SSSP

Site Specific Safety & Health Plan

SWD

Saltwater Disposal

UCS

Unified Command System

USCG

United States Coast Guard

WCD

Worst Case Discharge

WHO

World Health Organization

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Tags: Emergency Management, Response Plans, Crisis Management, Oil Spill, Emergency Response Planning, Communication Plan, Business Continuity Plan, Disaster Response, National Preparedness

Twitter Hashtags in Emergency Management

Posted on Mon, Sep 09, 2013

As social media becomes ingrained into society, emergency managers should capitalize on the boundless information available from these interactive platforms. Social media can provide user-generated content regarding ideologies, location-specific observations, and first hand experiences that allow emergency managers to respond accordingly. Social media‘s reach, frequency, usability, and immediacy can be utilized as response tool and reveal real-time public perceptions of a company at any given time.

Twitter, the 140-character real-time social communication site, was developed in 2006 and has rapidly gained users since its inception.  According to eBiz (as of August 8, 2013), Twitter is ranked 2nd among the “15 Most Popular Networking Sites”.  Because of its instantaneous updates and popularity, emergency managers can utilize information for a variety of response activities. It can provide messages inclusive of web links, pictures, audio and video content.

As discussed in the TRP blog entitled “Emergency Management Planning and Social Media” companies should develop processes for monitoring and evaluating social media during an incident in order to collect accurate, real-time intelligence, as well as to obtain a basic consensus of public opinion.  The disciplines of social media and emergency management need to interface before an incident happens, not during the response itself. The Twitter hashtag tool, #, allows readers to connect to conversations regarding specific topics or incidents. Utilizing the hashtag tool allows for concentrated, situational communications and can bring specific topics into focus for emergency managers.

Hashtag Guidelines for Emergency Managers

According to Twitter, hashtags are used to categorize Tweets via keywords.  Twitter guidelines regarding hashtag usage is as follows:

  • Use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) to categorize those Tweets
  • Hash tagging assists in Twitter searches. (ex: #wildfire)
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows all other Tweets marked with that keyword.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.
When a specific hashtag is selected, Twitter displays results for all posts utilizing the same hashtag. However, it is important to consider that hashtags key terms may not be consistent. For example, when searching for information related to the August Tuolumne County, California wildfires, hashtags included a variety of combinations: #yosemite, #Cafire, #RimFire, #Tuolumne. It is important to utilize a multiple variations of an incident when searching for information on Twitter.

 

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Common Emergency Management Hashtags

A series of emergency management hashtags were identified in Social Media 4 Emergency Managers’ blog, “Active Hashtags”. The list below includes many of those identified in the “Active Hashtag” blog, as well as other that have since been utilized.

General Hashtags

  • #preparedness - General term for all topics under the preparedness umbrella
  • #incidentmanagement - Topics relating to managing an incident from activation to recovery
  • #SMEM - Social Media and Emergency Management
  • #VOST - Virtual Operations Support Teams
  • #EM - Emergency Management
  • #Incident - An occurring event. More specific information may be gathered by utilizing a more detailed hashtag
  • #Crisis - Crisis management
  • #businesscontinuity - Business Continuity information
  • #HSEM = Homeland Security Emergency Management
  • #businesscontinuity - Information relating to business continuity
  • #SM - Social Media
  • #Hazmat - Topics involved with hazardous material
  • #WX - Weather-Specific Tweets (for state-specific, these will be preceded by state initials such as #NYWX, #TXWX).
  • #2BeeRdy - Grassroots non-profit movement of Social Media volunteers who've come together to spread the emergency preparedness message.
  • #Regulations - Topics associated with local, state, or federal regulations
  • #disasterrecovery - General term for all topics related to disaster recovery
  • #emergencyplanning - Topics related to emergency planning

Government Hashtags Sampling

  • #FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Administration
  • #RCRA - Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • #NFPA - National Fire Protection Association
  • #EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
  • #OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • #NPM13 - National Preparedness Month 2013
  • #PHMSA_DOTPipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration

Conference & Association Hashtags

  • #NEMA - National  Emergency Management Association
  • #IAEM - International Association of Emergency Management
  • #UASI - Urban Area Security Initiative
  • #VSMWG - Virtual Social Media Working Group (w/ DHS Science & Technology Directorate)
  • #IAEMETC - IAEM Emerging Tech Committee
  • #NG911 - Next generation 911 initiative
  • #Cleangulf – Clean Gulf Conference
  • #VPPPA - The Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association, Inc, is a nonprofit association of cooperative safety and health management systems.
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Tags: Emergency Management, Emergency Preparedness, Incident Management, Media and Public Relations, Disaster Response