EVENT -FREE: Oil Spill Preparedness and Response: Free Public Workshop – Port Townsend – Nov 9


bullhorniconPreparing for an oil spill in our local waters is the focus of an educational workshop on local agency and community preparedness and response on Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 9 am – 3:30 pm at the Northwest Maritime Center (431 Water St) in Port Townsend.  Here’s the story.  Sign up if you want to be prepared to help out when a spill happens.

Organized by the Northwest Straits Foundation in partnership with state, federal and local agencies, the purpose of the workshop is to inform and engage the public so that local citizens know who will be in charge, how decisions are made, how citizens can provide input to improve preparedness and response, and what training is needed to assist if an oil spill occurs.  Chrissy McLean, Port Townsend Marine Science Center’s Marine Program Coordinator and local Marine Mammal Stranding Network Coordinator, emphasized, “It’s important for people to understand how complex and organized an oil spill response needs to be. It takes an intense amount of organization and preparation to respond properly to an oil spill incident.”

Local, state, and federal agency staff that serve as “Incident Command” during oil spills will describe how they make decisions and what actions are needed to protect valuable natural and community assets.  U.S. Coast Guard, WA Department of Ecology, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, Tribal and Jefferson County Emergency Management representatives will describe the process and decisions they have to make in the event of an oil spill.

Information about upcoming volunteer training opportunities will also be presented.  Community members often want to volunteer to help in response to an oil spill, but oil spill response work can be dangerous and a health hazard, so it is critical that community volunteers have prior training. Al Bergstein, Chairperson for the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee, advises, “Untrained volunteers who helped with the Exxon Valdex oil spill have had long-term health-related issues associated with working in these hazardous environments. We all want to help protect wildlife and marine habitats, but we need appropriate training to be safe and protect ourselves as well as the environment.”  At this workshop, attendees will also receive information about trainings and how they can help before, during and after an oil spill.  Upcoming volunteer training opportunities include workshops on recovering and caring for oiled wildlife, and hazardous materials training (“HAZWOPER”) in order to be ready to help out on the beach.

This event is free, but registration is required.  RSVP to Michelle Lim, Northwest Straits Foundation, at lim@nwstraits.org.  Lunch is not provided; please bring your own lunch.

This event is sponsored by the Northwest Straits Foundation, the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the City of Port Townsend and the Northwest Maritime Center.


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