National Response Team, United States
The United States National Response Team, an interagency group co-chaired by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), is charged with emergency response planning and coordination. It does not respond directly to emergency situations, but rather supports incident response forces by distributing information, planning emergency responses in advance, and training personnel to deal with response. In addition to backing federal components of emergency response, it also supports regional response teams (RRTs).
NRT members, in addition to EPA and USCG, include the departments of Defense, Energy, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Interior, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and the Treasury; the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); the General Services Administration; and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Each has a specific role to play, as coordinated by the NRT: USCG, for example—among its many responsibilities for the team—manages the National Response Center and maintains 46 round-the-clock staffed facilities in major U.S. ports. FEMA advises and assists lead agencies in coordinating relocation assistance.
Even those parts of the NRT whose functions are not normally associated with emergency response have significant roles to play. The Department of Agriculture, for instance, monitors the effect of hazardous substances on natural resources, as does the Department of Interior, through offices such as the Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Mines, Geological Survey, and National Park Service. The Department of Labor conducts health and safety inspections at hazardous waste sites through its Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Coordinating these efforts is the NRT itself, which ensures that the roles of each agency are clearly outlined in the National Contingency Plan. It supports the training, education, and preparedness of members, both through courses within and outside the NRT, and through member committees that include the Preparedness Committee, the Response Committee, and the Science and Technology Committee. In working with RRTs, the NRT reviews regional or area contingency plans, and monitors RRT effectiveness during an incident.
█ FURTHER READING:
"New Guidelines Offered for Emergency Response Plans." Environmental Management Today 7, no. 3 (July/August 1996): 5.
Soltis, Dan. "Integrated Emergency Response Plans Will Save U.S. Industry Millions." Water Engineering & Management 144, no. 2 (February 1997): 17.
Steinman, Adam H. "Streamline Your Facility's Emergency Response Plans." Chemical Engineering 106, no. 3 (March 1999): 102.
Emergency Response Program, National Response Team. Environmental Protection Agency. < http://www.epa.gov/superfund/programs/er/nrs/nrsnrt.htm > (March 30, 2003).
U.S. National Response Team. < http://www.nrt.org/ > (March 30, 2003).
Chemical Safety: Emergency Responses
Coast Guard National Response Center
Emergency Response Teams
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
FEMA (United States Federal Emergency Management Agency)
Radiological Emergency Response Plan, United States Federal