When you’re developing a comprehensive emergency response plan for your business, you cannot overlook creating a shortlist of reliable contractors that will be there for you in a pinch. It’s something that you hope never to have to use, but you will be grateful for if you ever need it.
Like with any other outsourced responsibility, not all firms will be the right fit for your company. But to help you take the guesswork out of what to look for in an emergency response contractor, in this article, we explore six characteristics that the most successful emergency responders have in common.
- Flexibility to offer short- or long-term assistance
- Knowledge of environmental impact
- Ability to deploy their team promptly
- Capacity to assist outside of cleanup activities
- Capability to respond 24/7/365
- Experience with different types of hazardous materials and emergencies
Flexibility to offer short- or long-term assistance
No emergency response project is exactly like the next — and neither are their timelines. So, while many emergency response companies can swiftly mobilize to assist on a short-term basis and get the job done, consider seeking out a company that has the flexibility to stay longer-term if needed.
Taking this approach rather than relying on several emergency response companies to intermittently assist yields invaluable benefits, including:
- Simplifying accounting, scheduling, and other project management and administrative tasks
- Reducing the number of individuals who need onboarding and site-specific training
- Decreasing the number of subcontractors you need to vet
- Allowing you to build strong professional relationships even during unfavorable situations
- Ensuring upper management knows that you’re prepared for any emergency
Agility and flexibility are keys to success on any emergency response project, but it was especially critical after TriMedia joined the crew responding to one of the largest inland oil spills in Midwest history. Over six years, we deployed a team with varying skill sets to aid in the oil spill response.
Throughout the entire project life cycle, we provided team members to assist in nearly all functions of the Incident Commanding System (ICS).
Knowledge of environmental impact
Swift and thorough hazardous material cleanup is vital for an emergency response’s success. But what happens after the initial cleanup is complete? A contractor that’s well-versed in environmental impacts will be able to identify if there’s potential for the surrounding environment to be affected long-term, and, as a result, help reduce your liability and safely close down the site.
When a tanker rolled over and punctured, about 4,000 gallons of gasoline and 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto the surface of a highway, the highway’s adjacent shoulders and bridge approach, and the ice on the river’s surface below.
After the initial response and cleanup activities, TriMedia’s environmental team carried out site characterization activities to identify potential impacts to the soil, groundwater, and surface water.
The sampling results indicated an impact, so we performed a feasibility study that showed a trailer-mounted soil vapor extraction (SVE) technique would be the most effective option for immediate remediation. Our team then carried out the remediation plan that ultimately removed about 150 pounds of contaminants.
Environmental conditions required the system to halt operations before remediation was complete, so our environmental team is working on performing a second feasibility study to assess the most effective path to site closure.
Ability to deploy their team promptly
During an emergency response, every second counts. So you need a team that can be on the way to your site in just minutes or hours — not days or weeks. When you’re looking for an emergency response contractor, look for companies that can deploy at a moment’s notice.
A public school about 40 miles away from TriMedia’s headquarters called our emergency response team after mercury spilled inside one of their laboratory classrooms. Our personnel mobilized with the necessary equipment and instrumentation and arrived on the site within one hour of initial contact. Dressed in Level C personal protective equipment (PPE), the team quickly cleaned up.
After the initial cleanup, our industrial hygienists performed air monitoring using the MVA to confirm mercury levels had returned to background levels and the classroom was safe for occupancy.
Capacity to offer assistance outside of cleanup activities
Something that will help you reduce the number of contractors you need to keep on speed dial is finding firms with diverse skill sets and knowledge bases. Using this strategy allows you to rely on the same contractor throughout the project lifecycle since they can assist in different capacities.
Flooring contractors exposed apparent inorganic mercury at an explosives manufacturer’s office facility and called TriMedia to evaluate the situation. Our team helped with hazard identification and evaluation, remediation and waste disposal planning, air monitoring, waste disposal, and remediation.
As first steps, our team:
Before remediation activities commenced, the team prepped the cleanup site:
And finally, after prepping the site, cleanup began:
We then provided followup MVI monitoring before people were allowed to occupy the building and recommended monitoring again at six months and one year.
Capability to respond 24/7/365
Emergencies don’t wait to take place between 9 and 5. That’s why you need a contractor with an emergency line that’s staffed around the clock.
TriMedia maintains a 24-hour Emergency Response System for a local university, which allows us to economically and effectively manage and resolve any emergency that arises.
Some situations we’ve responded to using this dedicated emergency line include:
Given our relationship with the university, we’ve also responded to work orders to complete abatement activities that support their ongoing operations and maintenance activities.
Experience with different types of hazardous materials and emergencies
There’s a time and place to bring businesses with niche knowledge into the fold (oil cleanup experts, mercury remediation experts, etc.). However, it’s beneficial to connect with a contractor with a wide range of experience with different types of hazards, materials, and emergencies.
After a local power plant flooded, the TriMedia team arrived on-site to assist with emergency response activities associated with two chemical spills.
The first response involved:
The second emergency spill response involved:
If you need a contractor to support your emergency response plan, reach out to our environmental department at 866-866-5125 or contact us.