How to properly prepare and execute response planning

We interviewed Gabrielle McGrath, Portfolio Manager – Spill Response Specialist with RPS about the importance of Response Planning and the unique services that RPS provides. 

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QWhat is Response Planning and why is it important?

Response planning is something that is actually required in both the United States and Internationally, ensuring that a company or government is prepared for an incident response, whether that be an oil spill or a hazardous material release. It ensures there are actions in place to plan for what would happen in the event that an incident would occur.

It's important to ensure that the government, the company, and the whole response community are prepared to deal with that incident.

"Our response plan is unique to many other companies that offer this service around the world, because we incorporate our modeling services into our plan."

Q What is unique about RPS' response planning? What sets us apart?

Our response plan is unique to many other companies that offer this service around the world.  We can incorporate our modeling services into our response planning, our models are well known all over the world for our capabilities to model oil spills, hazardous material releases, search and rescue incidents, and anything like that.

It is very helpful to be able to say where that oil is going to go in the environment, how it's going to behave, and how that chemical is going to behave in the environment.

QHow does modeling influence Response Planning?

Modeling is very important for response planning and it enables you to know where the product is going to go when you're trying to plan the response.

If you're running an oil spill model, you could determine where the oil is going to go, and how it's going to behave in the environment, and then you can plan your response plan around those modeling results.

It's really important to know, for instance, if the oil is typically going to move to the north along the shoreline and if there's an environmentally sensitive area there, you can plan the booming strategies. In advance of how you would protect those sites before an incident happens, you can prepare to have the equipment providers and the oil spill removal organizations or Ostros plan ready to activate the response plans. In the actual event that you've practiced before, it would actually happen.

QWhat kind of services does RPS offer in Incident Command System (ICS) training?

RPS can offer a suite of ICS training courses. We can offer individual courses, team courses, and position-specific courses that can complement the training from any organization, either for the government or industry.

We can also provide support to ICS exercises. We can come in and serve as a coach during an exercise, as a controller to actually put on the exercise, or as an evaluator to determine if the objectives of the exercise are met.

QWhat is a capability audit?

The Capability Audit that RPS offers can be done virtually, where we would not have to come to your site to provide that audit. You can send your documents for response plans that you have currently in place. We can review the plan, note where there may be some deficiencies, and provide feedback on the plan or actually rewrite the plan and provide a revised version to you.

The Capability Audit also can be done in person where we can provide on-site support. This includes an evaluation of the plans and how the setup is created to facilitate the best response possible.

Q Does RPS provide on-site support?

RPS can provide on-site support both for the response planning process as well as during an actual incident. We can come in and do what we call a capability audit in person where we come into your site and really determine if you are prepared for a response both with the setup of your incident command post as well as your equipment inventory. We'll advise if you have the correct equipment that is needed to support the response for the region.

We also can come in during an actual incident and provide coaching to the incident management staff who's running the response and provide guidance on the best way to execute the incident command system process. This live, on-site training during the middle of the response ensures that the incident command system process is followed properly and that the response is executed in the most efficient way possible.

Oil spill preparedness services

  • Capability audits
  • Oil Spill Response Plan preparation and review (including Vessel Response Plans, Facility Response Plans, and Spill Prevention, Control, & Countermeasures Plans)
  • Oil spill modeling
  • Incident Command System (ICS) training and exercises
  • On-Call support and incident management

Oil spill modeling

Electronic preparedness tools can add an extra dimension to oil spill preparedness. Sophisticated oil spill modeling software forms an integral part of risk assessments, oil spill contingency plans, exercises, and actual responses. We provide technical support and advice in running and interpreting our industry-standard oil spill models for clients.

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