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DNREC Emergency Response Team

The Emergency Response Branch is responsible for responding to petroleum and hazardous materials incidents in the state. Incidents can range from transportation-related spills to major threats such as weapons of mass destruction. The branch is led by the State Emergency Prevention and Response Chief, has four full-time State On-scene Coordinators (OSCs), as well as administrative support.

DNREC Emergency Response Vehicle

Contact Us

Jamie Bethard
State Emergency Prevention and Response Chief
155 Commerce Way, Suite B
Dover, Delaware 19904

The Emergency Response Branch works with officers in DNREC’s Environmental Crimes Unit and additional DNREC staff trained as hazardous materials (hazmat) technicians/specialists to form DNREC’s Emergency Response Team (ERT).

The Emergency Response Team maintains a statewide rapid, comprehensive, 24/7 response to emergency and non-emergency petroleum and hazardous substance incidents.

The team also responds outside the state in a cooperative relationship with neighboring states if the incident impacts Delaware.

The team is Delaware’s only FEMA Level I/II, public-safety hazardous materials response team. At full complement, it is 30 responders strong.

DNREC’s Emergency Response Team manages and controls the “hot zone” of an incident, including:

  • Identification of the released substance
  • Containment and/or confinement of the substance
  • Establishing and directing technical matters such as site health and safety issues
  • Determining the need for additional resources
  • Accumulating and evaluating information
  • Overseeing or conducting remedial actions
  • Interacting with support agencies

Local Coordination

In New Castle County, DNREC’s Emergency Response Team is supported by the New Castle County Volunteer Firefighter Hazmat Decon Team. That team is made up of the Elsmere, Cranston Heights, Five Points, and Belvedere fire departments with Hazmat 30 and CAT 30.

The DNREC Team is also supported by the New Castle County Industrial Hazardous Materials Response Alliance.

In Kent County, the DNREC Team is supported by the Little Creek Fire Department Hazmat Decon Team and South Bowers Fire Company with Hazmat 57.

In Sussex County, the DNREC Team is supported by the Sussex County EMS Hazmat Decon Team and the Millsboro Fire Company with Hazmat 83.

Part of a Statewide Response Team

DNREC’s Emergency Response Team is a member of the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) which responds to releases of oil and hazardous materials including non-fixed facility radiological releases in Delaware.

Other SERT members include the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, the Delaware State Fire School, the Delaware State Police, the Division of Public Health, local and county government agencies and local fire companies.

The SERT implements the Incident Management System, a standard system for organizing state/county agency response to a hazardous substance release or a significant oil release.

As part of the SERT, DNREC’s Emergency Response Team is responsible for directing and coordinating activities related to scientific evaluation including interpretation of monitoring results, planning control and remedial actions, and the development of sampling plans. In addition to responding to incidents, the team preplans and coordinates response issues both internally and externally.

A Fully Equipped Team

The Emergency Response Branch maintains multiple response vehicles, decontamination equipment, and response and spill containment trailers. These units contain equipment and materials that are necessary to respond to most petroleum and other hazardous substance releases.

The Emergency Response Team responds to a variety of incidents, such as:

  • Transportation-related incidents
  • Clandestine drug labs
  • Residential aboveground heating oil tank releases
  • Small mercury spills
  • Oil tanker spills in Delaware waters
  • Indoor air quality
  • Chemical railcar leaks
  • Abandonment of unidentified chemical drums
  • Leaking underground storage tanks (commercial and residential)
  • Chemical, petroleum, biological and radiological incidents in any media (air, land, surface and groundwater)