Regional Response Teams

There are 13 Regional Response Teams (RRTs) in the U.S., each representing a particular geographic region (including the Caribbean and the Pacific Basin). RRTs are composed of representatives from field offices of the federal agencies that make up the National Response Team (NRT), as well as state representatives. The four major responsibilities of RRTs are:

  1. Response;
  2. Planning;
  3. Training; and
  4. Coordination.


RRTs provide a forum for federal agency field offices and state agencies to exchange information about their abilities to respond to On-Scene Coordinator's (OSC's) requests for assistance. As with the NRT, RRT members do not respond directly to releases or spills, but may be called upon to provide technical advice, equipment, or manpower to assist with a response.


Each RRT develops a Regional Contingency Plan to ensure that the roles of federal and state agencies during an actual incident are clear. Following an incident, the RRT reviews the OSC's reports to identify problems with the Region's response to the incident and improves the plan as necessary.

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Federal agencies that are members of the RRTs provide simulation exercises of regional plans. These exercises test the ability of federal, state, and local agencies to coordinate their emergency response activities. Any major problems identified as a result of these exercises may be addressed and changed in the regional contingency plan so the same problems do not arise during an actual incident.

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The RRTs identify available resources from each federal agency and state within their regions. Such resources include equipment, guidance, training, and technical expertise for dealing with chemical releases or oil spills. When there are too few resources in a region, the RRT can request assistance from federal or state authorities to ensure that sufficient resources will be available during an incident. This coordination by the RRTs assures that resources are used as wisely as possible, and that no region is lacking what it needs to protect human health and the environment.

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