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Spill Response Exercises

Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan Exercises

The vast majority of spill response exercises that Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Program (PPR) staff participate in are related to Industry Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plans (Plans). Spill response exercises are an important tool used by the Department to determine whether a Plan is adequate in content and that the plan holder can execute a response effectively using the resources committed in the Plan. PPR staff often partner with local, state, and federal agencies, local communities, or other stakeholder groups - as well as plan holders - to plan, conduct, and evaluate contingency plan exercises. Most often, these exercises are also utilized to accomplish multiple agency exercise requirements, primarily those of the federal Preparedness for Response Exercise Program.

Both announced and unannounced oil spill response exercises may be conducted for any regulated terminal, exploration, production, refinery, tank vessel, or barge plan holder up to twice a year. For Nontank Vessel (NTV) plans, PPR conducts exercises on NTV Cleanup Contractors and NTV Incident Management Teams that support multiple NTV plan holders.

Oil spill response exercises may range from small equipment deployments or focused incident management team exercise to large-scale equipment deployments based on the aspect or component(s) of a Plan the Department, partner agencies, and/or the plan holder need to test. Exercises provide the opportunity to identify and correct gaps either through plan amendments, operational improvements, or both. If the Department finds it necessary, it may conduct additional exercises to verify improvements have been made and the plan can be adequately implemented.

Oil Spill Response Exercise Guidance

DEC has prepared an Oil Spill Response Exercise Guidance:  A Manual for Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Exercises (Guidance).  The Guidance is intended to provide DEC staff, Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan holders, response action contractors, partner agencies, and other stakeholders with a common framework on how to design and develop, conduct, and evaluate oil spill response exercises. The Guidance and related information is available on DEC’s Oil Spill Response Exercise Guidance page.    

Hazardous Material Spill Response Exercises

To better protect public health and the environment, PPR maintains the capability to respond to an emergent hazardous material release or incident anywhere in Alaska. The Statewide Hazardous Material Response Work Group, a standing work group comprised of federal, state, and local first responders, and coordinated by PPR staff, are dedicated to developing, maintaining and enhancing existing hazmat response in Alaska. Through this work group, the Alaska Regional Response Team, and the State Emergency Response Commission, PPR and our partners are able to develop and participate in multi-jurisdictional exercise and training opportunities, like the triennial Alaska Shield full-scale exercise.

For more information on hazardous materials response planning and exercises, please see PPR's Response Planning page.

All-Hazards Partner Agency Response Planning

Department staff participate and support exercises led by other local, state, and federal emergency management partners. These exercises often focus on responding and recovering from both natural and man-made disasters, called “all-hazards” events. For more information on these all-hazard response exercises, please see the Alaska Department of Military & Veterans Affairs website, the Exercise Section of the Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management website, and the State and Local Response Planning Section of PPR’s Response Planning page.

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