An incident response team or emergency response team (NERT) is a group of people who prepare for and respond to any emergency incident, such as a natural disaster or an interruption of business operations. Incident response teams are common in corporations as well as in public service organizations. This team is generally composed of specific members designated before an incident occurs, although under certain circumstances the team may be an ad hoc group of willing volunteers.
Incident response team members ideally are trained and prepared to fulfill the roles required by the specific situation (for example, to serve as incident commander in the event of a large-scale public emergency). As the size of an incident grows, and as more resources are drawn into the event, the command of the situation may shift through several phases. In a small-scale event, usually only a volunteer or Ad hoc Team may respond. In small but growing, and large events, both specific member and ad hoc teams may work jointly in a unified command system. Individual team members can be trained in various aspects of the response, be it Medical Assistance/First Aid, hazardous materials spills, hostage situations, information systems attacks or disaster relief. Ideally the team has already defined a protocol or set of actions to perform to mitigate the negative effects of the incident.
Public contingencies often addressed by incident response teams include:
Natural disasters (hurricanes, tornados, typhoons, earthquakes, Floods)
Public health threat such as the outbreak of an epidemic
Power grid outage or other infrastructure failure
Travel system interruption such as significant air or rail accidents
Hazardous material spill
Food or drug contamination
Internet or computer attacks
Volunteer Fire Fighters. Individuals on such a team usually have an unrelated job. Often the first responder on the scene will assume the role of Incident Commander.
Examples of individuals in a manufacturing scenario who might join an ad hoc incident response team include:
Examples from community settings include:
Emergency Response Teams (NERT)
Volunteer NERT participants receive training in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety/suppression, light search and rescue, disaster psychology and team organization, CPR/AED, Active Shooter and Extreme Violence Awareness, and disaster preparedness. Instructors are skilled and experienced members of the first responder and emergency management professions. Using the training learned in the classroom and during team exercises, NERT members can be better prepared to assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following a crisis event. NERT members can also contribute as an organized volunteer cadre to assist the university in community preparedness awareness activities and in support of organized community recovery activities following a crisis.
Emergency Response Team (NERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as:
Light search and rescue
Disaster medical operations
During the first few hours or days following a disaster, essential services may not be available. People must be ready to act on their own.
NERT members are activated:
Generally, the first NERT team member arriving on the scene becomes team leader, and is the designated Incident Commander (IC) until the arrival of someone more competent. This person makes the IC initial assessment of the scene and determines the appropriate course of action for team members; assumes role of Safety Officer until assigned to another team member; assigns team member roles if not already assigned; designates triage area, treatment area, morgue, and vehicle traffic routes; coordinates and directs team operations; determines logistical needs (water, food, medical supplies, transportation, equipment, and so on.) and determines ways to meet those needs through team members or citizen volunteers on the scene; collects and writes reports on the operation and victims; and communicates and coordinates with the incident commander, local authorities, and other NERT team leaders.
Checks team members prior to deployment to ensure they are safe and equipped for the operation; determines safe or unsafe working environments; ensures team accountability; supervises operations (when possible) where team members and victims are at direct physical risk, and alerts team members when unsafe conditions arise.
Fire Suppression Team.
Work under the supervision of the Team Leader to suppress small fires in designated work areas or as needed; when not accomplishing their primary mission, assist the search and rescue team or triage team; assist in evacuation and transport as needed; assist in the triage or treatment area as needed, other duties as assigned; communicate with Team Leader.
Search and Rescue Team.
Work under the supervision of the Team Leader, searching for and providing rescue of victims as is prudent under the conditions; when not accomplishing their primary mission, assist the Fire Suppression Team, assist in the triage or treatment area as needed; other duties as assigned; communicate with Team Leader.
Medical Triage Team .
Work under the supervision of the Team Leader, providing START triage for victims found at the scene; marking victims with category of injury per the standard operating procedures; when not accomplishing their primary mission, assist the Fire Suppression Team if needed, assist the Search and Rescue Team if needed, assist in the Medical Triage Area if needed, assist in the Treatment Area if needed, other duties as assigned; communicate with Team Leader.
Medical Treatment Team.
Work under the supervision of the Team Leader, providing medical treatment to victims within the scope of their training. This task is normally accomplished in the Treatment Area, however, it may take place in the affected area as well. When not accomplishing their primary mission, assist the Fire Suppression Team as needed, assist the Medical Triage Team as needed; other duties as assigned; communicate with the Team Leader.