Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2015

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 102

7 Spring 2015 Proceedings required equipment. The remainder of the team maintains a 24-hour response posture. The Gulf Strike Team is located in Mobile, Alabama; the Pacific Strike Team in Novato, California; and the Atlantic Strike Team in Fort Dix in New Jersey. The National Strike Force Coordination Center is located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Members typically deploy for up to 21 days. If an incident exceeds this period, additional responders will be deployed to backfill positions. National Strike Force responders deploy, on average, 160 days per year. NSF personnel are experts in site safety planning and oversight and are frequently requested to serve as Incident Command System (ICS) safety offcers for hazmat response operations. As such, they are familiar with Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements for haz- ardous waste operations and emergency response and have specifc training in hazard analysis techniques. National Strike Force personnel are also certifed to serve in a wide range of ICS positions, including incident commander, operations section chief, planning chief, safety offcer, and fnance and logistics section chief, or as deputies or coaches for those positions. As hazmat technicians, NSF personnel are subject mat- ter experts in hazard mitigation and source control; and, although technicians are trained and ready to suit up in personal protective equipment (PPE) 1 to go in and physi- cally perform source control, they are more often requested to provide advice and help develop strategies. Response Services Biological response services: The National Strike Force maintains the equipment and capability to conduct site assessment and characterization for incidents with sus- pected biological warfare agents. Personnel use specialized equipment to make feld presumptive determinations to identify if a biological agent exists at the incident and then make recommendations to the FOSC based on the results. The National Strike Force Plug and Play T h e N ati o n a l Str i ke Fo r ce p r i d e s itself on being completely interoper- able — meaning any NSF strike team member is able to seamlessly integrate with personnel from the other strike teams, regardless of which team the other personnel came from. Moreover, the strike force works toward interoperability with other specialized response teams from other government agencies and non-governmental orga- nizations through joint exercises and training sessions, to refine interopera- bility and share and enhance each other's best practices and policies. Going the Distance The NSF's 12-person hazmat response teams are each capable of rapid deploy- ment with equipment that allows them to operate 24 hours a day in up to Level A personal protective equipment (fully encapsulated, vapor-tight protection). This allows the team to make continuous entries into a contaminated area for at least 72 hours, before they need to restock specialized protective gear or personnel. This is a signifcant advantage for inci- dents in remote locations and those that require complex efforts to secure a contamination source or to minimize human health or environmental impact. Tailored Response All NSF hazmat technicians are profcient in chemical response operations. Addi- tionally, the teams maintain many types of response packages. Each is comprised of slightly different equipment, but all are ready for quick deployment. This allows teams to be very nimble in their response and deployment tactics and to quickly tailor a package to the response, as every incident is unique and requires slightly diferent equipment. Fighting Brain Drain Due to the rapid increase of oil produc- tion throughout the United States, there is a clear demand for experienced oil spill response personnel. In the post-Deep- water Horizon era, the response commu- nity is faced with the inevitable loss of experienced personnel — those who responded to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. These responders, who were then in their 30s, have since gathered 25 years of experience and are approaching retire- ment age. It is and continues to be a chal- lenge to replace responders with this level of knowledge and real-world experience. In an efort to enhance their experience and competency, NSF personnel consis- tently respond to oil-related incidents, participate in exercises, and conduct t r a i n i n g s e s s i o n s ye a r- r o u n d a n d throughout the world. SMART The National Strike Force also implements and monitors special oil spill response tactics, also known as "specialized moni- toring of applied response technologies" or SMART, which rely on small, highly mobile teams that collect real-time data during dispersant and in-situ burning operations. This information is channeled to the unifed command and allows leaders to make appropriate response decisions.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Proceedings Of The Marine - SPR 2015