Incident Commanders

The Program

Upon implementation of the Plan, MFSA will provide an Incident Commander (IC) for a period of up to 24 hours or until the Responsible Party’s (RP) Qualified Individual (QI) arrives; whichever occurs first.

The IC is responsible for all aspects of the response, including developing incident objectives and managing all incident operations.  The IC is faced with many responsibilities when the IC arrives on scene.  Unless specifically assigned to another member of the Command or General Staffs, these responsibilities remain with the IC.

Some of the responsibilities include:

  • Communicate with vessel to assist in implementing Field Guide to secure the vessel and stop the flow.
  • Establish immediate priorities especially the safety of responders, other emergency workers, bystanders, and people involved in the incident.
  • Stabilize the incident by ensuring life safety and managing resources efficiently and cost effectively.
  • Determine incident objectives and strategy to achieve the objectives.
  • Establish and monitor incident organization.
  • Approve the implementation of the written or oral Incident Action Plan (”IAP”).
  • Ensure adequate health and safety measures are in place.
  • Provide technical assistance to the QI in managing the spill response.

Quick Facts

ISRCs are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

In addition to vast industry knowledge, ISRCs are local response experts who know the region and locally specific conditions.

An ISRC manages the first 24 hour period of a response.

ICs are representatives of the maritime industry and include the following individuals:

George Birch

George Birch is a former US Coast Guard MTSA Facility Regulator and Pollution Response Investigator.  He has acted as Federal On-Scene Coordinator for over 400 spill incidents on land and water.  He has earned several awards for his service including the Armed Forces Service Medal for his efforts and service after Hurricane Katrina and Rita in 2005, and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for response and prevention efforts to Sector Portland.  As a civilian professional in the environmental response industry, he has responded to several Spills of National Significance including the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010.   He has trained hundreds of spill responders in OSHA HAZWOPER, ICS and other response trainings.  His overall goal is to help provide a cleaner future to his Wife, Mary and two Daughters, Georgie and Lucy.


Jack Kyle

Jack Kyle has been an emergency responder since 1986. He has worked in the petroleum transportation and refining industry for over 30 years. While working for Mobil Oil Co. he was trained and certified as the team leader for the San Francisco based Mobile Oil Response Activation Team, (M.O.R.A.T.). Jack was also a volunteer firefighter for 18½ years both in California and Oregon. He is certified by the State of California (CSTI)(OES) as a Hazardous Materials Technician Specialist Instructor. Jack has developed curriculum taught to personal from the U.S. Military in Iraq, U.S. Coast Guard, Chevron Fire, F.O.S.S. Environmental, The Industrial Emergency Council, and Regional Hazmat Teams from California, Oregon, Washington, and Utah.

Ric Gerttula

Ric Gerttula has been in the Maritime and Environmental Services industries for over 40 years beginning his career on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers. He has had the opportunity to participate in many of the larger maritime environmental incidents throughout those years. The Exxon Valdez, barge Morris J Berman, New Carissa and Deepwater Horizon to name a few. He also managed operations in Long Beach, CA and Portland, OR for Foss Environmental shortly after the acquisition from Burlington Environmental by Foss Maritime Company in the mid ‘90’s.

He resides in Astoria, OR and retired from Foss Maritime Company in ’09. He now owns and operates PR Marine Support Services, LLC providing marine transportation solutions for clients and support for major environmental events.   

Chad Thompson

Chad Thompson retired from the US Coast Guard in 2017 after 25 years.  Much of his career was spent conducting search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and environmental response.  During his last tour of duty he qualified as a Federal On-Scene Coordinator and Pollution Responder covering Oregon and parts of Washington.  Additionally, Chad is a contractor for the Department of Agriculture instructing leadership courses to wildland firefighters throughout the North West.

If interested in becoming a member of MFSA’s Incident Command roster, contact Holly Robinson at

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Contact Information:

Maritime Fire & Safety Association

200 SW Market St., Ste 190, Portland, OR 97201

Call (503) 228-4361 | Email