The State Emergency Response Team (SERT) responds to releases of oil and hazardous materials including non-fixed facility radiological releases in the State of Delaware. Incidents can range from transportation-related spills to major threats such as weapons of mass destruction.
The SERT consists of the DNREC Emergency Response Team, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), the Delaware State Fire School, The Delaware State Police, the Division of Public Health, local and county government agencies, and local fire companies.
The State Emergency Response Team provides an incident command system, the organizational structure used for coordination and control of state activities whenever there is an oil or hazardous materials incident.
For a major incident, the state provides a multi-agency response; while for a minor incident, the state would respond with only one or two agencies.
State Emergency Response Team responses are conducted according to the state’s Oil and Hazardous Substance Incident Contingency Plan.
Depending on the complexity of the incident, there are four levels of SERT responses involving oil or hazardous materials. The levels relate to the severity of the incident and the resources needed for the response. They range from least to most serious.
Level I consists of the local fire department, DNREC Emergency Response Team, and the Delaware State Fire School. DNREC is the Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Operations Branch Manager for the Fire Officer in Charge. The Fire Officer in Charge is the fire chief, any other elected or appointed fire line officer, or any member serving in the capacity of Fire Officer in Charge, and is the incident commander and in charge of the scene.
Level II is a response for petroleum and hazardous materials. It consists of the local fire department, DNREC, and the Delaware State Fire School, plus selected resources as determined by the Fire Officer in Charge. DNREC is Site Manager for the Fire Officer in Charge, who is in charge of the incident.
Level III is a response for petroleum and hazardous materials that has been declared a full SERT incident.
The Delaware Emergency Management Agency assumes the role of Incident Commander in accordance with the provisions of the Oil and Hazardous Substance Incident Contingency Plan.
The Incident Commander is the person responsible for insuring implementation of the Incident Command System to plan and coordinate scene operations of all state/county agencies engaged in response.
DNREC acts as Hazmat Operations Branch Manager and is responsible for managing the hazard assessment, containment, control, stabilization, and remediation activities; assuring site safety; and coordination with industry, state, and federal counterparts.
Level IV is a response for petroleum and hazardous materials that has been declared a full SERT incident and also includes a federal governmental entity (such as EPA, FEMA, or the US Coast Guard) fully integrated into the command structure.
A state response is put into effect by the SERT through the Incident Command System under the State Incident Commander or Fire Officer in Charge. Coordination with the federal government is on a case-by-case basis between the State Incident Commander and the Federal On-scene Coordinator.
The Incident Command is made up of designees from state and local agencies:
DEMA acts as State On-scene Coordinator, coordinating the actions of all State agencies during a Level III incident. The designee has the authority to call on any agency or resource within the State and/or federal assistance.
DNREC acts as Hazmat Operations Branch Manager to direct and coordinate onsite operations and the handling and removal of hazardous substances. The Hazmat Operations Branch Manager operates from the incident site; coordinates with the Fire Officer in Charge (Level I – II) or the State On-scene Coordinator (Level III); and may coordinate with Federal On-scene Coordinator (Level IV) or their representatives, responders from neighboring states, and industrial response team.
The Division of Public Health provides technical expertise in the protection of human health.
The Delaware State Police protect life and property.
The Delaware State Fire School mitigates the danger of fire and explosion.
County and/or municipal officials assist with the local emergency response infrastructure.