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The Necessary Details for Pipeline Tactical Response Planning

Posted on Thu, Sep 03, 2015

Pipelines play a key role in the sustainability of our economy. Pipelines deliver millions of gallons of crude oil and petroleum products across every state so that communities can commute and travel, maintain homes and businesses, utilize modern communications systems, and manufacture thousands of products that are used in daily life.

In 2013, 192,396 miles of pipelines transported nearly 15 billion barrels of crude oil and petroleum products. Controversies develop because these vast pipelines often share common acreage with waterways, residential neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and municipalities. Despite strict regulations, pipeline incidents do occur. Because these common geographic boundaries exist, it is imperative that tactical spill response plans contain site specific details that are unique to the location and landscape.

Pipelines present a distinct risk since it is not practical for them to utilize secondary containment. When a spill occurs, impacts can be costly to the environment, surrounding communities, and the pipeline company. If a worst-case discharge were to occur, the impacts can be devastating on multiple fronts. However, the faster the spill can be contained, the less impacts it creates.

Spill prevention should be the primary objective. However, by creating location-specific tactical response plans, pipeline companies and operators can identify and compensate for key geographical challenges that may delay responding to and managing a pipeline emergency. The planning process should involve a detailed site examination and anticipated response analysis, as well as an understanding of the characteristics of the pipeline contents.

The primary objectives of tactical 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
  • Minimize impact zones

Tactical spill plans should include location-specific details that include, but are not limited to:

  1. Photographs of response locations
  2. Maps
  3. Latitude and Longitude
  4. Property owner information
  5. Driving directions to the site from main roads
  6. Description of potential staging area(s)
  7. Specific response tactics for the site location
  8. Description of site and applicable waterways
  9. Site access specifications
  10. Security requirements
  11. Waterway flow rates
  12. Any critical response information that may be informative to responders
  13. Recommended equipment and personnel to implement response strategy
  14. Sensitive environments

Pipeline spills within waterways increase the complexity of a response. They require a higher level of coordination and communication in effort to minimize impending impacts. As a result, companies must maintain optimal pipeline spill response standards to address challenges. Those challenges include, but are not limited to:

  • Response time must be minimal due to spill flow rate and travel distances
  • Potential substantial equipment deployment
  • Waterway access points
  • Coordination and cooperation efforts with private landowners
  • May require extensive geographic surveys
  • Associated increased costs of deployment
  • Consequential costs associated with long-term cleanup activities 
  • Extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, fishing, and/or tourism industries
  • Potential lawsuits

Analyzing possible spill trajectories through topographical features, wind speeds, and water flow rates allows planners to identify which areas are most likely to be impacted by a spill. Once these resources have been identified, proper response techniques and procedures specific to the sensitive areas must be incorporated into the response plan. Types of sensitive areas to evaluate during the planning phase include, but are not limited to:

Ecological: Examples of sensitive species include shore birds and other water fowl, marine life, commercially important wildlife, and species with limited distribution or populations. Sensitive habitats range from protected bays with marshes and tidal flats to open coast areas used as marine mammal or bird breeding sites.

Cultural: Areas of direct importance to humans including, but not limited to native lands, historical landmarks, waterfront parks, and recreational areas.

Economical: Populated areas that are highly valued because of their ability to generate income. Areas include tourist sites, real estate developments, urban developments, marinas, parks, and other locations.

Specific sensitive resources: Specific resources that are only available at that particular location, such as specialized suppliers, water sources, transportation systems, food sources.

  

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Tags: Tactical Response Planning, Pipeline, Oil Spill

Oil Spill and Contingency Planning in an Industry Downturn

Posted on Thu, Apr 09, 2015

In March 2015, Brent crude oil prices hovered around $50 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell to nearly $40 per barrel. The drastic price decline continues to pressure oil-related companies to re-evaluate operating expenses, administer headcount reductions, and rationalize budget cuts. The combination of pricing, demand, and production levels has inventory levels at their highest levels since May 1985 (US Energy Information Administration). With infrastructures at capacity and potential budget cuts aimed at stretching operating costs, EHS departments, safety managers, and response experts cannot afford to sacrifice oil spill contingency planning and preparedness elements that address a worst case spill scenario.

commercialcrudeinventories

The benefits of oil spill contingency planning, preparedness, and response process optimization far outweigh the risks and costs associated with non-compliance or a worst case discharge. EHS departments must prioritize planning and response exercises, as they are necessary to satisfy applicable regulatory requirements, protect the environment, and ensure the best possible safety scenario for responders and employees.

Responding to a worst case spill is a dynamic scenario with multiple moving parts and trajectories, both in regards to the material spilled and the responders involved. Yet, all plans related to oil spills, regardless of the volume, have one common thread: to minimize impact. As profits margins are stressed, companies must ensure that risks and hazards remain mitigated through compliance, preparedness, and effective response planning.

Local, state and federal regulatory agencies often require varied site information depending on particular oil-related operations and locations. This information may be required in the form of a site-specific oil spill contingency plan. Contingency planning looks at all the possibilities of what could go wrong and, “contingent” upon actual events, has the contacts, resource lists, and strategies to assist in the response to the spill. Contingency planning should provide procedural details, or a “game plan” that addresses various spill scenarios and situations.

Despite complexity and varied nature, a well-designed contingency plan should be easy to follow. Facilities must ensure that their spill contingency plan outlines the necessary procedures for before, during, and after an emergency. Although the plans can be vastly different, they typically have four major elements in common:

  1. Hazard identification
  2. Vulnerability analysis
  3. Risk assessment
  4. Response actions

Hazard Identification: Numerous varied criteria, such as location, climate, severe weather potential, operations, logistics, equipment, spill trajectory, or facility dynamics, can create situations that can affect the ability of response personnel to contain and clean up a spill. These hazards should be identified and processes put in place to counteract challenges caused by each specific situation.  It may be possible for certain identified hazards to be mitigated, essentially eliminating the hazard altogether.

Vulnerability Analysis: It is critical to identify and provide detailed information regarding area social, natural, and economic resources that may be compromised or destroyed if a spill were to occur.  This information regarding these non-facility related entities in the path of a spill or response, should guide response personnel to make reasonable, well-informed response actions to protect public health and the environment. Vulnerability analysis information should include the following:

  • List of socio-economically sensitivities such as schools, nursing homes, hospitals, etc. and individual point of contact for each facility
  • Lists of public safety agencies/officials in adjacent and nearby communities
  • Lists of large gathering or recreational areas, such as campgrounds, parks, malls, etc.
  • Calendar lists of special events and point of contact
  • Identification of parts of the environment that are particularly susceptible to oil or water pollution such as water sources, beaches, farms

Risk Assessment: This assessment quantifies the hazards and the vulnerabilities to address the potential impact of a spill on its surroundings. The contingency plan should address best possible spill containment measures, how to prevent certain populations or environments from exposure to oil, and what can be done to repair the damage done by the spill.

Response Actions: Employees and responders should train for and exercise their assigned spill response actions in order to minimize the hazards to human health and the environment. Stakeholders and applicable levels of government and industry should be consulted and incorporated in spill response and contingency planning. Without the full participation of personnel, responders, contractors, and government entities, a plan may lack validity, credibility, and effectiveness.

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Tags: Tactical Response Planning, Response Plans, Oil Spill, Regulatory Compliance

Oil Spill Response Planning, Drones, and Spill Surveillance

Posted on Thu, Sep 04, 2014

Oil spill response planning and preparedness are necessary to satisfy applicable regulatory requirements, protect the environment, and ensure safety for responders and employees. Yet, all plans related to oil spills have one common thread: minimize the impacts!

Effective oil spill response plans can minimize the impacts associated with an oil spill. The objectives of these plans, regardless of type of facility, are to:

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

History has proven that a single oil spill can have significant impacts to the environment and the responsible party. Off-site spill responses and containment efforts present unique challenges compared with spills occurring within the confines of the facility or secondary containment. These migrating spills require a higher level of coordination, communication, and surveillance in an effort to minimize downstream impacts.

It is critical to identify and provide detailed information regarding area socio-economic and natural resources and vulnerabilities that may be damaged if a spill were to occur. This information should guide response personnel to make reasonable, well-informed response actions to protect public health and the environment. Detailed information of downstream vulnerabilities and applicable response procedures should be included in an oil spill or tactical response plan.

Spill surveillance should begin as soon as possible following the discovery of a release to determine the appropriate response tactics. One future option for surveillance is the use of commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or more commonly known as drones. The push for commercial use of drones is gaining momentum as affordable devices are increasing in popularity.  Currently, commercial use of drones are limited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization and require the operator to have certified aircraft and pilots, as well as FAA operating approval.

The FAA is responsible for establishing a plan for “safe integration” of UAS by September 30, 2015. However, some reports have indicated that the integration plan deadline will be delayed due to privacy debates and various industry specific regulations. “The FAA is still developing regulations, policies, and standards that will cover a wide variety of UAS users, and expects to publish a proposed rule for small UAS (under 55 pounds) later this year.”

A few companies have been granted the FAA’s Certificate of Waiver or Authorization for UAS allowing for the limited use of commercial drones. In July 2014, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) joined the likes of ConocoPhillips and BP with limited permission to use drones.

Until regulations, best practice protocols, and authorizations are established for the commercial use of drones, standardize surveillance guidelines and best practices can continue to enable response personnel to assess spill size, movement, and potential impact locations.  These guidelines should be outlined in an oil spill response plan.

Below are guidelines that are routinely included in spill surveillance procedures:

  • Dispatch observers to crossings downstream or down gradient to determine the spill’s maximum reach potential.
  • During surveillance, travel beyond known impacted areas to check for additional oil spill sites.
  • Clearly describe the locations where oil is observed and the areas where no oil has been seen.
  • Educate personnel that clouds, shadows, sediment, floating organic matter, submerged sandbanks, or wind-induced patterns on the water may resemble an oil slick if viewed from a distance.
  • Use surface vessels to confirm the presence of any suspected oil slicks (if safe to do so); consider directing the vessels and photographing the vessels from the air, the latter to show their position and size relative to the slick. It may be difficult to adequately observe oil on the water surface from a boat, dock, or shoreline.
  • Spill surveillance is best accomplished through the use of helicopters or small planes; helicopters are preferred due to their superior visibility and maneuverability.
  • If fixed-wing planes are to be used, high-wing types provide better visibility than low-wing types.
  • All observations should be documented in writing and with photographs and/or videotapes; include the name and phone number of the person making the observations.
  • Describe the approximate dimensions of the oil slick based on available reference points (i.e. vessel, shoreline features, facilities); use the aircraft or vessel to traverse the length and width of the slick while timing each pass; calculate the approximate size and area of the slick by multiplying speed and time.
  • Record aerial observations on detailed maps, such as topographic maps.
  • In the event of reduced visibility, such as dense fog or cloud cover, boats may have to be used to patrol the area and document the location and movements of the spill; however, this method may not be safe if the spill involves a highly flammable product.
  • Surveillance is also required during spill response operations to gauge the effectiveness of response operations; to assist in locating skimmers; and assess the spill's size, movement, and impact.
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Tags: Tactical Response Planning, Crisis Mapping, Emergency Management, Crisis Management, Oil Spill

Renovating the Framework of Emergency Management and Incident Response

Posted on Tue, Aug 26, 2014

The modernization of communication technologies has trickled down to the frameworks of emergency management. On July 29, 2014, the 'White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Demo Day” brought together the disaster response community and innovative entrepreneurs from across the country in the hopes of integrating technological advances with preparedness and disaster response efforts.

As the connectivity of the world increases, EHS programs and emergency managers are embracing collaborative and innovative preparedness and response initiatives. However, in order to germinate or sustain an ongoing culture of preparedness, companies must prioritize funding to incorporate new and relevant systems, training, and/or equipment. Unless mandated by regulatory authorities, many companies delay best practice and technological initiatives until an incident propels response planning to the forefront.

According to the Disaster Recovery Planning Benchmark Survey: 2014 Annual Report, “more than 60% of those who took the survey do not have a fully documented disaster recovery (DR) plan and another 40% admitted that the DR plan they currently have did not prove very useful when it was called on to respond to their worst disaster recovery event or scenario.

As the “Y” or the “Millennial” generation” (those born between 1980’s and 2000) continues to enter the workforce, emerging technologies will become more ingrained into society and the workplace. These educated and tech savvy individuals accustomed to fast-paced technological advancements consider technology as an essential aspect in their lives. Based on current trends, upcoming generations will be acclimated to instantaneous communication and data extraction from any location. Text, social media, and web-based technologies will be expected as commonplace emergency management frameworks, rather than the traditional means that most companies still utilize today. In order to integrate societal norms and stay relevant with upcoming generations of employees, emergency management and disaster response framework must be aligned with currently available utilized tools.

Statistics suggest that every dollar invested in disaster preparedness yields savings of $4–$11 in disaster response, relief, and recovery.” The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Just as computers replaced typewriters to expand productivity, web-based response systems are replacing one-dimensional paper-based plans. Web-based response systems offer a greater streamlined functionality, renovated efficiency, and varied accessibility when compared with traditional paper-based plans.  Web-based planning system software offers every option of instant accessibility: viewed via the Internet from any location, downloaded, or printed. Increasing accessibility options while improving efficiency, functionality, and effectiveness can bolster an entire emergency management program.

In order for new functionalities to be introduced to the workplace, emergency managers often are required to justify the initial investment. A cost-benefit analysis of a renovated emergency management program can highlight the potential cost savings of an effective program. Any prevention, mitigation, or plan maintenance costs should be compared with the financial impact of situational recovery processes and the overall costs of an incident. These costs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Human life
  • Short term or long term business interruption
  • Lawsuit(s)
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Equipment failure
  • Inventory/stock losses
  • Fines
  • Reputation
  • Environmental destruction

The relevance of innovative techniques and lessons learned should be continually evaluated and incorporated into an emergency preparedness program if appropriate.  While often suppressed in favor of short-term profits, budgets for pertinent emergency management initiatives should be prioritized for long-term corporate sustainability. But “change for change’s sake” does not typically enhance programs. The evolution process of an emergency management program should aim to perpetuate improved responses and operational recovery times, and enhance company viability despite crisis scenarios.

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Tags: Tactical Response Planning, Emergency Management, Resiliency, Incident Management, Emergency Management Program, Communication Plan, Social Media

A Lesson in Emergency Preparedness: Learn from Past Incidents

Posted on Thu, Apr 17, 2014

From every event, whether a planned exercise or an actual emergency, lessons can be learned to improve the outcome of the next response. Emergency managers should not camouflage preparedness, response, or communication failures.  Instead, they should draw from the scenario experience to improve the overall emergency management program.

Immediately after an exercise or incident, it is critical to:

  1. Conduct post incident reviews
  2. Gather conclusions from interviews
  3. Identify necessary changes for program implementation
  4. Apply lessons to targeted area(s)

Actual recovery times can be evaluated and any obstacles that led to perpetuating the response should be mitigated. Emergency managers should incorporate lessons learned into response plans, highlight any additional training measures, and inject new responses procedures into exercise simulations.

The post-incident review is an evaluation of incident response used to identify and correct weaknesses, as well as determine strengths. Timing of a post-incident review is critical. An effective review requires that response and preparedness discussions take place while a disaster fresh in the minds of decision makers, responders, and the public. From this review, lessons learned can be identified and the task of preparedness and response improvement can begin.

The post-incident review process is intended to identify which response procedures, equipment, and techniques were effective or ineffective, and the reason(s) why. The question “How can our emergency response process be improved?” should be asked for each subject under the post-incident critique.

Post-incident reviews should include, but is not limited to:

  1. Name and typical duties of personnel being debriefed
  2. Date, time and whereabouts of employee during incident
  3. Specific actions performed during the incident
  4. Documentation of the positive aspects of the response and areas for improvements
  5. Recovery time and possible mitigation measures for improvement
  6. Potential lessons learned
  7. Necessary program and plan revisions
  8. Condition of equipment used, both prior to and after the incident
  9. Overall post-incident perception

Key areas of consideration that should be analyzed by a review team can include, but not limited to:

Initial Response

  • Was the emergency detected promptly?
  • How was it detected?
  • Could it have been detected earlier? How?
  • Are any instruments or procedures available to consider, which might aid in earlier detection of the incident?

Notifications

  • Were proper procedures followed in notifying government agencies?
  • Were notifications prompt?
  • Was management notified promptly?
  • Were personnel notified promptly? If so, why, how and who? If not, why not?
  • Were contact numbers up to date?

Assessment/Evaluation

  • Was the magnitude of the problem assessed correctly at the start?
  • What means were used for this assessment?
  • Are any guides or aids needed to assist emergency evaluation?
  • What sources of information were available on winds, on water currents and other variables?
  • Is our information adequate?

Response Mobilization

  • What steps were taken to mobilize countermeasures to the emergency?
  • What resources were used?
  • Was mobilization prompt? Could the response time improve? How?
  • What about mobilization of labor resources?
  • Was it appropriate to mobilize company resources and was this promptly initiated?
  • What other company resources are available and have they been identified and used adequately?

Response Strategy

  • Was there a Response Plan available for reference?
  • Was it flexible enough to cope with unexpected events?
  • Does the plan include clear understanding of local environmental, political or human sensitivities?
  • What was the initial strategy for response to this emergency?
  • Is this strategy defined in the Response Plan?
  • How did the strategy evolve and change during the emergency and how were these changes implemented?

Response Resources

  • What resources were mobilized?
  • How were they mobilized?
  • How did resource utilization change with time? Why?
  • Were resources used effectively?
  • What changes would have been useful?
  • Do we have adequate knowledge of resource availability?

Command Structure

  • Who was initially in charge of responding to the emergency?
  • How did this change with time? Why?
  • What changes would have been useful?
  • Was there adequate monitoring of the incident?
  • Were communications adequate?
  • Was support from financial services adequate? Prompt?
  • Should financial procedures be developed to handle such incidents?

Upon conclusion of the post-incident interviews, the following lesson learned concepts should be examined, mitigated if possible, and incorporated for an improved emergency management program:

  1. Unidentified potential risk or hazard: A hazard and vulnerability analysis should be performed, and processes and procedures should be developed and added to the plans.
  2. Management gaps and weaknesses: If the post incident reviews revealed weaknesses or gaps in the emergency management organization, the structure and/or roles should be modified and emergency plans revised.
  3. Ineffective policies and procedures: If the policies and procedures fail to address key issues during the incident, policies and procedures would need to be modified to address inadequacies.
  4. Lack of response proficiency: If response was faulty due to deficient training, exercising, or planning, these efforts should be amplified and personnel should be familiarized with these modifications
  5. Planning deviations: If participants successfully diverged from existing processes, procedures, or plans theses areas should be modified to reflect the reality of the performance.

Applying lessons learned to an emergency management program enables the ability to use experiences as a means to improve to better prepare for future emergency scenarios. By analyzing the past, executing enhancements, and reinforcing strengths companies and municipalities will be better prepared to not repeat history.

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Tags: Tactical Response Planning, Crisis Mapping, Emergency Management, Emergency Preparedness, Facility Management, Emergency Management Program, Emergency Response Planning

Are you Ready to Maximize Emergency Preparedness in 2014

Posted on Mon, Jan 20, 2014

Emergency preparedness plans aren’t created for “if” an emergency happens, but for “when” an emergency happens. Fortunately, the notion of a securely accessible emergency response planning system capable of adapting to a company’s every location, regulatory requirement, and plan type is within reach to many companies.

As the expectation level of instantaneous information grows, companies that do not embrace available technological advancements can be criticized as being stagnant. Increasingly available and more reliable technology has allowed companies to transition from seemingly archaic binder-based response plans to an all-inclusive web-based preparedness program.

Whether plans are mandated by corporate policy or regulatory agencies, a widely accessible emergency response plan can maximize efficiency and minimize impacts of an emergency on employees, the environment, and infrastructure.  Until web-based preparedness programs became available, plan formats often varied from one facility to another, making it difficult to manage training, compliance efforts, and consistency of basic response procedures. Incorporating a definitive enterprise-wide emergency management system across an enterprise can maximize efforts, allowing for a streamlined and familiar response process.

As we begin 2014, companies are still striving boost efficiency, compliance, and budgets. By upgrading to a web-based emergency management system, companies can maximize preparedness and emergency management. Implementing a web-based planning system offers preparedness programs the following benefits:

Efficiency 

When best practices are implemented, and training and exercises confirm effective response processes and procedures, response plans can be an effective tool for responders. However utilizing web-based, database-driven software allows registered users to swiftly and accurately identify confirmed response contacts, response procedures, and available resources, expediting the response and minimizing impacts.

Effective response plans require cyclical maintenance. As a result of changing personnel, fluctuating external response contacts, and revolving equipment availability and inventory levels, maintaining up-to-date and actionable response plans can be administratively time consuming.

The most advanced web-based software programs utilize a database, allowing for specific repetitive information to be duplicated in the various necessary plan types across an entire enterprise. By eliminating the need for duplicate updates and minimizing administratively tasking duties, plan changes are more likely to be transferred into the system, optimizing the accuracy of the plans and improving the likelihood of an effective response if an incident were to occur.

Accessibility of Plans

Increasing accessibility options while improving efficiency, functionality, and effectiveness can bolster an entire emergency management program. Web-based planning system software offers every option of instant accessibility: via the Internet, downloaded, or printed.

In the event of an emergency, identical duplicate paper plans are typically not available in various locations. If a location-specific incident renders company servers inaccessible, response plans housed on a company intranet may be inaccessible.  Although the intranet approach has improved overall plan and preparedness accessibility, significant difficulties continue to include plan maintenance, version control, and consistency.

Instantaneous Updates

With web-based technology and an Internet connection, revised information is available to all approved stakeholders in “real-time”. Web based software eliminates “version confusion” and allows responders to apply the most up-to-date and tested processes to a response. Microsoft Word or PDF documents are often the culprit of “version confusion”. Multiple versions of paper-based and intranet-based plans can potentially confuse and misinform the response team(s), prolonging a response.

Superior Functionality

Web-based plans can provide hyperlinks, forms libraries, simplified interfaces, and other tools designed to improve streamlined functionality for plan users. Simplifying documentation during an incident enables prompt response progress, improved regulatory compliance, and a more accurate account of the response. Easy to follow response plans allow responders to carry out specified industry and company procedures in accordance with proven best practices responses.

Multi-purpose Data

The ability to duplicate common information minimizes administrative time (and ultimately costs) for managing response plans. Pending industry and regulatory compliance, companies typically utilize more than one response plan. Plan types may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Business continuity plans
  • Emergency response
  • Incident action plans
  • Fire pre-plans
  • SPCC plans
  • Severe weather or hurricane plans
  • Crisis management plans
  • Facility response plans

Web-based, database driven plans utilize one database to manage information. This function allows users to effectively duplicate common plan content and revision efforts to all plans and locations that utilize the similar data.

To request a demonstration on how Fortune 500 companies are utilizing web-based planning, click the image below to contact TRP Corp, a web-based response planning system industry leader. 

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Tags: Choosing a Consultant, Tactical Response Planning, Resiliency, Emergency Preparedness, Redundant Systems, Cloud Computing, Regulatory Compliance, Emergency Management Program

Objectives and Details of Oil Spill Tactical Plans

Posted on Mon, Aug 12, 2013

Pipeline companies often have numerous potential impact zones across vastly diverse terrains with multitudes of emergency response obstacles. Because a single oil spill can have a significant or catastrophic impact on downstream environments, it is imperative to create a pre-planned, coordinated response effort.

Throughout the duration of a spill response, responders may be required to employ various downstream tactics applicable to the various response site. Oil spill tactical response plans provide the position specific information to assist responders along the spill route.

Off-site spill responses and containment efforts present unique challenges compared with spills occurring within the confines of a facility or secondary containment. Offsite spills require a higher level of coordination and communication in effort to minimize impending impacts. Those challenges include, but are not limited to:

  • Response time must be minimal due to spill flow rate and travel distances
  • Potential substantial equipment deployment
  • Waterway access points
  • Coordination and cooperation efforts with private landowners
  • Require extensive geographic surveys
  • Associated increased costs of deployment
  • Consequential costs associated with long-term cleanup activities
  • Extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, fishing, and/or tourism industries
  • Potential lawsuits
  • Exercises must include outside entities

Tactical response plans contain numerous geographical fixed response actions for the various off-site tracts in the path of an oil spill. These planning tools assist in the implementation of an overall response strategy by minimizing the potential travel distance of a spill.  When spills migrate off site, it is essential to have plans in place that have been developed in cooperation with those in the potential path of a spill. Communication with downstream counterparts lessens spill response anxieties and promotes company/community partnerships.

Objectives of Tactical Response Plans

Through the planning process, information is gathered to identify the course of action that is necessary to achieve a successful response at the specific downstream location. The primary objectives of tactical response plans are to:

  • Allow response personnel to prepare for and safely respond to spill incidents
  • 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

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Details of the Tactical Response Plan

The tactical planning process identifies the “how” a downstream response will be implemented at a specific location. Tactical planning provides site-specific focus to the comprehensive emergency response plan. They apply a response perspective with specific short-term actions and details that allow responders to best access, assess, and quickly respond to offsite spills. Tactical response exercises will better prepare responders for the potential conditions and actions required at the site.

Tactical spill plans should include the following:

  • Various photographs of each segment (including ground and aerial views, if possible)
  • Maps
  • Latitude and Longitude
  • Land/property owner information
  • Driving directions to the site from main roads
  • Description of potential staging area(s)
  • Specific response tactics for the site location
  • Description of site and applicable waterways
  • Site access specifications
  • Necessary security requirements
  • Waterway flow rates and composition
  • Any critical response information that may be informative to responders
  • Recommended equipment and personnel to implement response strategy
  • Other site specific pertinent issues that may hinder a response
 
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Tags: Tactical Response Planning, Oil Spill