Major Incident Response Milestone Checklist

Prior to Officially Forming a Unified Command

Day 1 Hour +2

Assigned To




Type and classify the incident to assess the risk.



Begin federal/state/trustee/local stakeholder response partner notifications.



Determine immediate responder and community risks including the need and resources for air monitoring.



Establish safety/security zones. (must  be done via Captain Of The Port Order in marine zones)



Consider the need to evacuation personnel or residents. 



Establish initial incident objectives.



Begin ICS form 201.



Develop initial hazard assessment worksheet and start work on initial site specific safety plan.



Mobilize initial assessment teams (land, water and aerial, as necessary).



Identify the PIO in each response agency and connect to other PIOs.  Establish an initial conference call, or connect by e-mail.



Issue initial joint (response agency) press release (between 30 minutes and 2 hours per area plan policy).



Determine initial resources for responding.



Begin resource tracking.



Identify Unified Command (UC) members.  Establish time for an initial conference call, connect by e-mail or set up a meeting.


Unified Command Has Formed, Is Not Yet Co-Located

Day 1 Hour +3

Assigned To




Request Scientific Support Coordinator assistance and order trajectories.



Obtain Safety Data Sheet(s) or other data from spiller to identify oil / hazardous material properties.



Establish overflight assessment and observation feedback loop to response partners.



Identify Geographic Response Plan priorities. Communicate on priorities with response contractors. Begin compiling ICS Form 232, Resources at Risk form.



Determine port closure options/necessity (Captain of the Port decision).



Establish contact with local Emergency Operations Center/City/County Emergency Managers, begin to share information. 



Assess whether the incident may impact a population with access challenges (disabilities, non-english speakers, etc.)



Continue making broader tribal, elected official and stakeholder notifications.



Locate and secure joint Command Post, as needed. Secure space based on scenario and scope of the incident. Consider space for a bullpen and breakout rooms.


Unified Command Has Formed, Has Plans and Timeframe to Co-Locate

Day 1 Hour +5

Assigned To




Transition to joint Command Post as necessary.



 Agree on common operating picture.



Request Endangered Species Act emergency consultation, using information from the ICS Form 232 and the form provided in Section 9404.



Identify and notify commercial / private fish and shellfish owners.  Identify and notify downstream drinking, agricultural, and industrial water users.  Communicate with the Environmental Unit.



Determine need and establish temporary flight restriction, as necessary.



Consider whether vessel of opportunity skimming systems, public equipment caches or U.S. Naval response resources (local or SUPSALV) are needed.  Order as applicable.



Engage with tribal enforcement and local health departments to open communication concerning shelter in place, fisheries closures and water user impacts.



Coordinate to determine staging areas.



Consider night operations, begin planning for staffing, support and shifts, as appropriate.



For cross border incident (international or state boundaries), establish liaison between governments/Governors.



Identify accommodations (hotels, motels, etc.) and food service companies to support responders.



If appropriate to consider use of dispersants or in-situ burning, notify trustees and tribes to allow time to work through the decision process.



Evaluate whether the spilled oil(s) have the potential to become submerged or sink. Inform UC immediately if so.



If appropriate to consider use of dispersants or in-situ burning, mobilize necessary resources.


Unified Command Has Joined Together at an Initial Command Post

Hour +10 Day 1

Assigned To




UC to establish overall incident objectives.



Identify limitations and constraints, critical information requirements.



Establish Situation Display and gather facts and data to support the response.



Identify expanded list of resources at risk and complete an ICS form 232.



Establish Communication Plan, including timing of media releases, social media and press conference protocols.



Request a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Spot forecast for localized weather.



Begin drafting social media plan for UC approval.



Establish Liaison Plan that includes a comprehensive list of coordination points in all appropriate agencies/organizations.



Obtain source sample. Plan for sampling needs for the response. The Initial Sample Plan can be downloaded here.



If appropriate, order “hot shot” SCAT resources for assessing extent of oiling and potential passive techniques to prevent re-oiling.  Plan for long term SCAT.



Expand staging areas as needed.



Establish briefing schedule for elected officials and agencies.



Conduct media briefings and consider updating the press release.



Launch a unified, incident-specific web site.



Consider whether the Command Post is suitable for a long term response.



Develop process of managing claims.


Day 2 Hour +24

Assigned To




The Information Officer and Liaison Officer together determine the need / timing for community meetings.



Consider as a best practice, hosting or touring media on or near the scene.



Assess wildlife impacts. Activate Wildlife Infrastructure as needed.



Consult with cultural / historical resource specialists as needed.



Stand up Maritime Transportation System Recovery Unit (MTSRU) and begin cargo prioritization, if appropriate.



Develop long term staffing and demobilization plans, establish fatigue guidelines.



Determine documentation management protocols.



Evaluate the effectiveness of recovery tactics to maximize recovery.



Plan for disposal, waste issues.



Plan for decontamination of response / commercial / non-commercial vessels.



Consider salvage and transfer needs (lightering, etc.).



Communicate the claims process to communities, municipalities and business owners.



Implement west coast mutual aid agreement and begin cascading of resources from out of region, if necessary.



Inform or otherwise convene the Regional Response Team (RRT) for assistance.



Finalize, distribute, and brief safety plan. 



Establish a volunteer policy as necessary, and develop a volunteer management plan.



Track all costs and communicate a burn rate to UC.


Day 3 Hour +48

Assigned To




Develop long term staffing and demobilization plans.



Refine vessel traffic plan.



Activate Volunteer Management Plan, as needed.



Continue communication with the incident specific RRT.



Adjust daily cycle of activities accordingly.


Day 3-4 Hour +96

Assigned To




Continue communication with RRT.



Adjust daily cycle accordingly.