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Emergency Response and Notification


SEMS Emergency Response Criteria

In accordance with the BSEE Safety and Environment Management System II, an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) should be in place. It should assign authority and responsibility to the appropriate qualified person(s) at a facility for initiating effective emergency response and control, addressing emergency reporting and response requirements, and compliance with all applicable governmental regulations.

An on-board Emergency Control Center (ECC) should be designated for each facility. Each ECC should have ready access to the Emergency Action Plans, oil spill contingency plan, and other safety and environmental information.

Training and Drills incorporating emergency response and evacuation procedures should be conducted periodically for all personnel (including contractor's personnel).

Drills should be based on realistic scenarios conducted periodically to exercise elements contained in the facility or area emergency action plan. An analysis and critique of each drill should be conducted to identify and correct weaknesses.

Emergency Shutdown System


When well-completion operations are conducted on a platform where there are other hydrocarbon-producing wells or other hydrocarbon flow, an emergency shutdown system (ESD) manually controlled station should be installed near the driller's console or well-servicing unit operator's work station.

When well-work over operations are conducted on a well with the tree removed, an emergency shutdown system (ESD) manually controlled station should be installed near the driller's console or well-servicing unit operator's work station, except when there is no other hydrocarbon-producing well or other hydrocarbon flow on the platform.


Blow-out Prevention Equipment and Procedures

The Blowout Preventer (BOP) systems and system components should be designed, installed, used, maintained, and tested to assure well control as per applicable applications.

Key items in reference to BOP equipment:

  • The BOP stack should be:
    • properly certified
    • shop serviced
    • shell-tested every 3 years.
  • Equipment, including accumulators, should be operational at all times during drilling operations. Required checks should be completed on schedule and documented as required by BSEE.
  • Blowout drills should be performed and recorded prior to drilling out any casing.
  • Well-control drills should be performed and documented by each drilling crew every 7 days, or as needed, to ensure proficiency with the operation, as required by BSEE.

Emergency Drills

The company should conduct emergency drills as required by the US Coast Guard (USCG) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

These drills include but are not limited to:

  • collision
  • environmental spills
  • fire and abandon
  • homeland security
  • helicopter crash
  • man overboard

When conducting on-board emergency drills:

  • All emergency drills should be documented, maintained, and made readily available to the USCG upon request. Records may be destroyed after one year.
  • Conduct a fire and abandon platform drill at least once each month for manned facilities.
  • All persons on board should participate in the drill.
  • In order to distinguish drills from actual emergencies, an announcement should be made over the PA system stating, "This is a drill, this is a drill."
  • The location of a simulated or actual fire should be announced over the PA system.
  • Pre-plan drills and vary the nature of the drill to cover a variety of emergency types.
  • If possible, use equipment to simulate a true emergency, including starting each fire pump.
  • On larger facilities or MODU’s, as part of the drill, simulate Activation of Emergency Shut-off Devices (ESDs) as part of the drill.

Here’s a short video demonstrating an emergency drill: ERT Offshore Drill

For On-Board Fire Drills


When conducting a fire on-board drill:

  • The person in charge should coordinate emergency procedures from the command center.
  • Contact shore-based operations and other units in the area to test communication equipment during drills. Inform them that a fire drill is in progress.
  • All workers are to shoulder at their designated shoulder areas. Promptly take roll call and report it to the person in charge in the command center.
  • Take appropriate steps to minimize any hazard associated with hazardous material.
  • Report hazardous materials present at the scene of the fire.
  • Post a fire watch guard to prevent a re-ignition after the fire is out.

Abandon Platform Drills

Wear properly donned life jackets and other PPE, as necessary, when proceeding to lifeboats or raft embarkation points.

Take a roll call by name. Account for all workers by taking a roll call and report the results to the person in charge. If someone is missing, the person in charge should instruct a rescue team.

Emergency Escape to the Water


In the event of an emergency water escape:

  • The Station Bill lists locations for emergency escape to the water.
  • Individual escape into the water is a ‘last resort’ option used only when other means are not available.
  • Employees should move to the lowest level possible before jumping into the water.

Emergency On-Board Evacuation Plan

All of the following items should be included in the On-Board Evacuation Plan:

  • Manned structures should have Coast Guard approved Emergency Evacuation Plans (EEPs) on board.
  • The EEP should address all aspects of a potential emergency evacuation of the platform.
  • The required contacts should be listed in the EEP.
  • The EEP should be posted around the rig and be made readily available in escape boats and capsules.

Emergency Signals


In case of the need for emergency signals:

  • The platform is provided with emergency signals to indicate the following situations:
    • fire or emergency
    • abandon platform
  • When an alarm sounds, workers are to take emergency action as defined in the Station Bill.
  • The tones and signals used in the alarms may vary because of the requirements of different operating areas.
  • Demonstration of the actual tones and alarms should be conducted for all new arrivals during the on-platform safety introduction and orientation.
  • Treat alarms as the real thing until told otherwise.



When using lifejackets:

  • Use a minimum of Type I Personal Floatation Device (PFD) with high-visibility tape and the name of the facility or MODU.
  • Lifejackets are located in storage containers at locations set forth on the Station Bill or safety equipment drawing.
  • Properly wear lifejackets during emergency drills and during actual emergencies.
  • When not in use, return lifejackets to their original position.
  • Notify the supervisor of any lifejacket defects, remove the device from service, and replace.
  • Fit lifejackets with a whistle and a light. Inspect these at least annually.

Here’s a short video on Type I PFDs How to Inspect/Don a Type I PFD

Lifesaving Equipment


There should be lifesaving equipment on board to help in the case of an emergency. Everyone should be instructed on the location of the equipment. The location is usually detailed in a Station Bill or safety equipment drawing.

To use this equipment:

  • Keep life floats in a ready condition at all times except when maintenance is being performed.
  • Life floats installed on platforms are of the throw-over or quick-release type. These are considered escape equipment and should only be used as a last resort.
  • Ring buoys, located on the handrails as shown on the Station Bill or safety equipment drawing, are available to be thrown to a person in distress.
  • Ring buoys are equipped with water lights and buoyant lines.
  • Buoys are not to be permanently secured, tied, or attached to the platform in any way.

Man Overboard (MOB)

MOB Procedures - NIOSH

When a person falls overboard, it’s important to know how to respond. Man overboard drills should be conducted. Keep in mind the following techniques and recommendations:

  • On witnessing a person falling overboard or already in the water, employees should immediately give the call "Man Overboard” by voice or PA system.
  • It is important not to lose sight of the person in the water. Directing someone else to make the announcement over the PA system may allow workers to keep the person in sight. This is important, as it is often very difficult to relocate a person overboard.
  • Get help before trying any rescue attempt.
  • Throw the nearest ring buoy to the individual in the water.
  • Repeat the announcement over the PA system several times. If the location of where the person went overboard is known, include that information in the announcement.
  • Platform workers should notify the standby boat to commence the rescue operation.
  • Throwing floating objects overboard every few minutes will give rescue boats or aircraft a ‘line of drift’ leading to the person overboard.
  • Gather the rescue team at the nearest lifeboat, capsule, or rescue craft and start the rescue as soon as possible.
  • Maintain continual communications between the rescue craft and the platform and/or standby vessel.
  • Personnel on the facility should be prepared to treat the person, upon retrieval, for hypothermia and any injuries sustained.
  • To make sure proficiency in retrieving a person overboard is maintained, hold man overboard drills at least every 3 months, weather permitting.

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricanes are defined as tropical cyclones with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher. In the western North Pacific, hurricanes are called typhoons; similar storms in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones.

For 1970-2010, the average number of hurricanes per year were as follows:

  • Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico: 11 tropical storms, 6 of which became hurricanes
  • „ East Pacific Ocean: 15 tropical storms, 8 of which became hurricanes
  • „ Central Pacific Ocean: 4 tropical storms, 2 of which became hurricanes

Weather conditions should be closely monitored by the facility person in charge during hurricane season.

  • The company’s Hurricane Preparedness plan should include information on essential and non-essential workers evacuation.
  • Depending on circumstances, it may be necessary to initiate evacuations up to 72 hours prior to the approach of a storm.



Lightning tends to strike higher ground and prominent objects, especially good conductors of electricity such as metal found on offshore platforms.

If you see a flash or lightning but do not hear the thunder, the lightning was probably discharged 15 or more miles away.

To determine how far away the lightning is, count the number of seconds between the lightning flash and thunder clap. For every 5 seconds you count, the lightning flash is approximately one mile away. (e.g., you see lightning and count to 6 before you hear the thunderclap. The lightning would be approximately 1000 feet x 6 seconds = 6000 feet (just more than a mile) away.)

Follow the 30-30 Rule

  • If you count less than 30 seconds between lightning flash and thunder bang, stop work and take shelter in an enclosed building, vehicle, or in a low-lying area.
  • Wait for at least 30 minutes after storm has passed or dissipated before resuming work activities.

Check out this short video of a lightning strike near an oil platform: Lightning Strike See if you can count the number of seconds between the strike and the thunder to determine the distance of the lightning strike.


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. When well-workover operations are conducted on a well with the tree removed, _____ should be installed.

2. On-board emergency drills should be conducted to include all of the following, except _____.

3. The platform should be provided with emergency signals for which of the following?

4. When using lifesaving equipment on board the platform, ensure all of the following, except _____.

5. If you see a flash or lightning but do not hear the thunder, the lightning was probably discharged _____ away from the offshore platform.

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.