The planning-training-exercise-respond cycle is essential to ensure a company's preparedness and ability to respond. How do you develop and maintain these critical skills in your global operations? How can you support global affiliates to deliver a safe and effective response to an oil spill or other major event? This paper will present recommendations and techniques to achieve these goals.

The first recommendation is to establish the Incident Command System (ICS) as a global standard in your operations. ICS is a best practice methodology for response management that is flexible, is used by global OSROs, and has been adapted in many countries. The effort to set and achieve global training and exercise requirements will pay off in many ways, e.g., by facilitating the integration of out-of-country resources to support a response.

  • - Set clear, relevant training objectives:

    • + Personnel demonstrate a basic understanding of ICS: structure, roles and responsibilities, deliverables, and key processes (e.g., planning, resource management, communications).

    • + Personnel are thoroughly familiar with company plans (local, regional, and global), incident management handbooks, and other internal resources.

    • + Other objectives address regional regulatory requirements, areas for improvement identified in exercises and/or incidents, etc..

  • - Establish a global template for spill response plans. Include modules to address regional and operational requirements. For example, modules for onshore and offshore facilities, terminals, wellhead operations, pipeline operations, etc. Standard formats will support compliance, facilitate audits, and also facilitate the sharing of areas for improvement.

  • - Leverage the development of a core training program with simple modifications to make materials applicable for global affiliates.

  • - Establish a global library of scenarios for training and exercises to support compliance with requirements. Using a basic set of scenarios globally has the additional benefit of facilitating the sharing of lessons learned and areas for improvement.

  • - Integrate training and exercise programs with complementary objectives.

  • - Exercises are always a challenge and can be costly to develop and conduct. Prepare exercise-development kits to facilitate the definition of exercise objectives, adaptation of standard scenarios, documentation of injects and activities, accommodation of local and cultural differences, and the preparation of after action reports.

  • - Use exercises to improve plans, build teamwork, build relationships with key stakeholders, and improve individual skills.

  • - To ensure effective training, incorporate adult education techniques into lesson planning and development and modify as needed for compatibility with local language and culture.

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Author notes

Hank Garcia, Senior Consultant, Centre for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH), 2000 Anders Lane, Kemah, Texas 77565, Tel: 832.671.2406, Email:, Url: