Improvements to Local Spill Response Capacity

Posted May 22, 2018 at 5:52 am by

Boom and rope mop skimmer in place, with crew making shore attachment - Contributed photo

As part of ongo­ing efforts to enhance local capac­i­ty to respond to oil and haz­ardous mate­ri­als spills, three San Juan Coun­ty orga­ni­za­tions par­tic­i­pat­ed in the 2018 Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Ecol­o­gy Spill Response Grant Pro­gram. This pro­gram helps local com­mu­ni­ties that are at risk for oil and haz­ardous mate­ri­als spills secure equip­ment and train­ing to effec­tive­ly respond to incidents.

Lopez Island Fire and EMS received fund­ing to pro­vide train­ing on haz­ardous mate­ri­als response and safe boat oper­a­tions as well as funds to pur­chase spe­cial­ized fire­fight­ing noz­zles, fire­fight­ing foam and per­son­al flota­tion devices to safe­ly respond to inci­dents on or near bod­ies of water.

The Islands Oil Spill Asso­ci­a­tion (IOSA) and the San Juan Coun­ty Depart­ment of Emer­gency Man­age­ment teamed up to receive fund­ing for the pur­chase of two new oil spill response trail­ers that will be used to store and trans­port crit­i­cal spill response equip­ment. IOSA’s Julie Knight high­light­ed the impor­tance of these new trail­ers, “We’re a lean orga­ni­za­tion, and this sort of sup­port will great­ly improve our capac­i­ty to respond to a range of incidents.”

Accord­ing to Depart­ment of Emer­gency Man­age­ment Direc­tor Bren­dan Cow­an, “The fund­ing of these projects reflects both the real risk of a spill that we face in the islands, and the coop­er­a­tive and ded­i­cat­ed nature of our island com­mu­ni­ty. Our front­line response comes from vol­un­teers, and we appre­ci­ate the Depart­ment of Ecol­o­gy’s efforts on our behalf.”

Lopez Island Fire and EMS Chief J. M. Havn­er echoed Cow­an’s sen­ti­ments, “Our suc­cess in a cri­sis is very much depen­dent on our abil­i­ty to work togeth­er, and I wel­come the way in which a vari­ety of orga­ni­za­tions are embrac­ing a coor­di­nat­ed approach to plan­ning and respond­ing. It’s def­i­nite­ly a strength of the islands.”

Con­tact for DOE Grants Pro­gram: Lau­ra Hayes (laura.hayes@ecology.wa.gov / 360–407-7485)

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