National Response System Flowchart
The flowchart below shows the functioning of the National Response System. When a release or spill occurs, if the amount of a hazardous substance release or oil spill exceeds the established reporting trigger, the organization responsible for the release or spill is required by law to notify the National Response Center (NRC). Once a report is made, the NRC immediately notifies an On-Scene Coordinator (OSC). The OSC determines the status of the response by state and local government responders and the company responsible for the release or spill (called the potentially responsible party (PRP)). The OSC also monitors the situation to determine whether, or how much, federal involvement is necessary.
The OSC may request additional support to respond to a release or spill, such as additional contractors, technical support from EPA's Environmental Response Team, or Scientific Support Coordinators from EPA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The OSC also may seek support from the Regional Response Team to access special expertise or to provide additional logistical support. In addition, the National Response Team stands ready to provide backup policy and logistical support to the OSC and the RRT during an incident.
For more information, please see Responding to an Incident.