Crude Oil

First Responder Roles


Responding to any significant crude oil incident involves the coordinated response of local emergency response agencies (such as fire, EMS and law enforcement), county or regional hazardous materials teams, other county agencies, State and Federal agencies.  Representatives and supporting partners of the shipper or facility will also respond.  Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may respond to assist with evacuations, sheltering and recovery efforts.

Local Agencies:

Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement: Initial response for public safety, fire control/Haz Mat and environmental protection.

County Agencies:

Emergency Management, Haz Mat: Incident Management, Hazardous Materials Response
Health, DPW/Highway, etc.: Support public health/safety efforts, environmental protection, assist with scene control, transportation, etc.

State Agencies: 

State agency response will depend upon the size, scope and needs of any incident.  A summary of agencies likely to respond and the response assets available from those agencies is provided below.

  • The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) responds to spills 24 hours a day. DEC coordinates the response and cleanup efforts, including the deployment and management of response contractors. DEC spill responders have access to the New York Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund (“the Oil Spill Fund”) to hire response contractors that bring heavy equipment and spill control and collection equipment to an incident. Ultimately these costs are recovered by the New York State Attorney General, with support from DEC, and New York State Comptroller’s Office, which administers the fund.  
  • The Department of Health (DOH) supports response agencies to assess and monitor the human exposure and public health impact of petroleum spills and fires, provides advice on safe handling and cleanup of hazardous materials, and provides public information on potential health impacts and protective measures.
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) responds to any crude-by-rail incident consistent with their inspection and investigative responsibilities.  DOT staff and resources can also assist with traffic management and support transportation.
  • The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), through the response of Offices which comprise the Division, listed below, responds upon request or notification depending upon the severity and scope of the incident.
  • Office of Emergency Management (OEM) personnel operate the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), respond to assist with incident management functions, and coordinate with local, State and Federal agencies responding to the incident. 
  • The Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC)provides personnel and equipment for hazardous materials response operations, Class B foam operations, and incident management functions, including supporting coordination of fire department mutual aid response as needed.  OFPC also administers the New York State Foam Task Force, which includes foam trailers pre-positioned along major transportation corridors, including those used to transport crude oil by rail and water across the State.  Each foam trailer is stationed with a local or County agency which has agreed to participate in the Task Force and deploy the trailer upon activation by New York State for any incident involving crude oil or other ignitable liquids.
  • The Office of Interoperable Emergency Communications (OIEC) provides personnel and equipment to support and supplement emergency communications at an incident scene.
  • The Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT) assists in the evaluation of the potential impact of an incident upon critical infrastructure and the surrounding area.
  • New York State Police (NYSP) supports local law enforcement, scene control, assist with evacuations, etc.
  • Other agencies may respond as required based on the needs of an incident.

Federal Agencies:

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides spill response and remediation for inland spills and serves as a co-chair of Regional Response Team II responsible for New York and New Jersey. 
  • US Coast Guard (USCG) provides spill response and remediation for water and coastal spills and serves as co-chair of Regional Response Team II responsible for New York and New Jersey.
  • Dept. of Transportation (USDOT) has investigative and enforcement responsibilities for transportation incidents.

Other federal agencies may respond as required depending on the nature of an incident.