Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Geographic Response Plans (GRPs)

The Online Map-Viewer

The Map-viewer puts all the information of the paper GRPs on an easy-to-use mapping screen that is available online and eventually, on your mobile device. It allows users to pan across New York State and zoom into any county that is currently a part of the project to see the same data that is presented on the paper format.

Clicking on the symbols will open a dialog box that provides contact and resource information. An advantage to the online mapper is the ability to see important infrastructure and special receptors that fall a greater distance outside the 0.5-mile buffer of the railroad tracks. This is especially beneficial when used for incidents not specifically focused along the rail lines.

An oil train derailment in Ripley

Defining GRPs

GRPs are map-based, location specific incident plans that provide guidance to first responders to maintain situational awareness during the initial stages of incidents involving the transportation of crude oil. They are used for a variety of accidents including tanker truck rollovers on major highways, large facility fires, and flooding events.

Designed as a one-page layout, on-scene first responders are given a broader picture of what is happening, what is being changed, and also what relief steps can be taken. They help to identify assets, infrastructure, or receptors that were initially overlooked.

Executive Order 125 directs New York State agencies to strengthen the state's preparedness for incidents involving the transportation of crude oil. In response, the DEC led a multi-stakeholder effort with the guidance of county and local responders and municipal workers to develop Inland Geographic Response Plans (GRPs).

Look and Feel

Front of a Geographic Response Plan showing the map of the rail corridor in Albany county
The map-view of the GRP

To the on-scene responders, the map displays:

  • Notable infrastructure;
  • Sensitive receptors;
  • Drainage pathways;
  • Response infrastructure
    • Hydrants
    • Drafting
    • ICP - Integrated Contingency Plan
    • Staging in the railroad area

A responder can locate where an accident occurs on the map and factors in variables such as:

  • Size of the spill;
  • Fire present or likely;
  • Waterway drainage; and
  • Wind direction

This helps to visualize who or what will likely be most impacted in the coming hours.

The general checklist shows:

Back of a Geographic Response Plan showing the anything of importance in the area
The back view of a GRP
  • Response considerations
  • List of agency and industry notification numbers
  • Area and rail access directions
  • Address' for fire suppression resources
  • Berming resources
  • Water response strategies
  • County provided staging/ICP locations
  • Site and seasonal specific response considerations
  • Phone numbers for each sensitive receptor within 0.5 miles of the tracks

Department of Transportation (DOT) placards for petroleum products that can be encountered on NYS railways are listed at the bottom of the page.

NYS "Inland" GRPs

Past NYS GRPs focused on the transportation of oil by water. Inland GRPs focus the movement of oil on the rail corridors and the population corridors that they run through. The plan was initially made for the 21 counties and subsequent communities most affected by crude-by-rail transportation and other railway hazards. It has now grown to include four more counties.

Main uses and concerns:

  • Environmental factors
    • Wildlife
    • Sensitive habitats
  • Human health and safety
  • Provide Notification and Physical Action Strategies
  • Multi-Hazard/Multi-Incident
  • Planning and Response tool for the initial hours on an incident; and
  • Usable and adaptable for planning, training, and drills

Questions about the Geographic Response Plans can be directed to StatewideGRPs@dec.ny.gov