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Hurricane Response

Led by OR&R, the NOS Incident Management Team is activated to ensure continuity of operations within NOS. OR&R provides the NOS incident coordinator during hurricanes, fusing information on people, mission, and infrastructure and facilitating coordination among multiple NOS emergency response roles.

An aerial image of oil in a flooded marsh area coming from an oil facility.
An oil leak after Hurricane Laura. Image credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

When activated for disaster response, OR&R supports the federal response under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) #3 – Public Works and Engineering, and ESF #10 – Oil and Hazardous Materials Response. 

OR&R provides scientific support for oil and chemical response efforts in coastal areas. The office surveys vessels or containers that may be leaking fuel, oil, or other hazardous materials; flies or uses remote sensing to identify and document spill sources; provides information systems to track spills and potential sources to resolution; identifies environmental sensitivities and best management practices; and uses computer models to predict spill movement and determine pollution threats. 

OR&R also provides guidance on marine debris and vessel salvage, and conducts shoreline cleanup assessments. Marine debris experts work under ESF #3 during response to integrate guidance into debris plans, drawing on Marine Debris Emergency Response Guides developed with the community. 

OR&R’s Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) is an online mapping tool that provides critical historical and real-time data for emergency responders and decision makers by highlighting environmental sensitivities, navigation concerns, weather, and ocean current data within U.S. regions for disaster preparedness and response. Using this tool, OR&R coordinates National Geodetic Survey imagery of the impacted areas to other federal agencies and stakeholders as available, which provides a detailed look often before responders mobilize to all areas. OR&R maintains this tool, provides training and expertise on it, and supports partners, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, in its use both in the field and remotely.

Last updated Thursday, July 28, 2022 2:15pm PDT