Spill Management Team

Spill Management Team

Spill Management Teams (SMT) or Incident Management Teams (IMT) are becoming a regulatory requirement for many companies who choose to handle hazardous materials or liquids. The regulatory requirements are intended to address emergency planning and preparedness elements, as well as who is responsible for conducting or implementing said elements.

Key Players

Personnel involved in emergency response should be aware of their roles and responsibilities. Many companies choose to utilize the Incident Command System (ICS) to help outline a planning process and the roles and responsibilities associated with the process.
The key roles and responsibilities for any emergency response are the following; Incident Commander, Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance, Safety, Public Information, and Liaison. These individuals make up the Command Staff and General staff commonly named under the ICS structure. They are also the key positions that should be filled in any Spill Management Team.

Why Identify an SMT?

Identifying an SMT helps with preplanning for emergencies. By selecting or designating certain individuals to fill the roles, you allow that individual the opportunity to learn and develop the specifics for that position. For example, accounting specialist or Human Resources personnel may often fill a role in Finance. By pre-selecting this individual, you can avoid the question of ‘who do I call?’ during the actual emergency because you will already know.
In certain part of the world, such as California, regulatory agencies are beginning to explore certification processes and training requirements for selected SMT personnel. Regardless of whether regulations to this affect are present for your industry, you should always make sure that the personnel selected are provided with proper training and experience to excel during an emergency.


For many personnel, the training aspect can be easy. Several courses exist that can provide knowledge and resources for the varying ICS positions. However, experience is harder to acquire. Unless an actual event occurs, which is not always the best, the personnel have little opportunities to gain experience.
Therefore, drills and exercises are essential for developing the experience of new people to the SMT. Not only does it help prepare them for the ‘what ifs’ during an emergency, but it allows the team the opportunity to work together and become a cohesive unit that can tackle any emergency. After all, practice makes perfect.