Oil spills are a hazard to marine life and their habitat. In support of planning and responding to oil spills, Clallam MRC offers two types of training annually to provide community members with the skills needed to respond to an oil spill. The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training provides basic training in who is involved in oil spill response, precautions required for those responding to a spill, and the current state of spill response preparedness. Oiled wildlife rescue training provides an opportunity to learn the skills needed to search for, capture, and rehabilitate oiled birds and other wildlife.
Clallam MRC also offers workshops and public forums to facilitate communication between entities working on oil spill response and the community.
Once a year Clallam MRC along with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, the U.S. Coast Guard, Focus Wildlife and Washington Department of Ecology host a HAZWOPER training in Port Angeles.
The one-day training covers how to recognize, react, and protect yourself from the hazards associated with an oil spill. The class provides information on hazardous situation recognition, personal protective equipment, decontamination procedures, and an overview of how oil spill response operations are conducted. Several videos were shown to demonstrate the different topics including a very amusing video about spread of contamination by a person. The class also examines hazards associated with working around oiled wildlife, however, it should be noted that while some of the subject matter discussed is related to oiled wildlife specific hazards, this training is not a wild-life handling or treatment course.
Upon completion the participants receive an 8-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response certificate. An annual renewal of the certificate is a requirement for being able to work in the field during an oil spill.
Since 2010 more than 450 volunteers have received the annual required HAZWOPER certificate through this program and in February 2017 another 50 volunteers received their certifications.
Oiled Wildlife Training
Every year Clallam MRC and Island Oil Spill Association partner to host two oiled wildlife trainings at the Clallam Fairgrounds. The first of the two trainings focuses on Basic Intake and Stabilization. The participants learn basic bird anatomy and how to take care of oiled birds. The training includes working with live ducks learning how to hold, weigh, and give them fluids and how to perform a general health examination. The participants also have the opportunity to examine several different species of dead frozen birds.
The second oiled wildlife training focuses on Search and Capture. The participants learn about search & collection procedures including stalking and netting birds and how to perform an initial “beak-to-tail” examination and safely handle birds. The last part of the training is conducted in the field at Ediz Hook where the participants practice search and capture techniques.
Since 2010 more than 290 volunteers have received the oiled wildlife training and another set of trainings will be offered in the spring of 2017.
Oil Spill Awareness Events
Clallam MRC organizes one or two workshops and public forums each year to raise public awareness about oil spill including local preparedness, prevention and the impacts of an oil spill.
2016 Oil Spill Awareness Workshop
On May 3rd, Clallam MRC organized a 3-hour workshop with the title "Changing Risks in the Strait of Juan de Fuca." Captain Joe Raymond, US Coast Guard, gave an update on the risk perspective for an accident in the Strait of Juan de Fuca including projected risks associated with the cancellation of Keystone, the expected decision by Congress to allow crude oil exportation, and the pending decisions on coal transshipment. Captain Raymond's presentation is available here.
David Byers, Department of Ecology, gave an oil spill program overview and update in light of the Keystone decision, crude oil exportation and coal transshipment. The presentation included a discussion of the geographical response plan the Strait of Juan de Fuca. David Byers' presentation is available here.
Stephanie Buffum, Friends of San Juans, talked about reducing the risks posed by an oil spill from global shipping, by designating the Salish Sea as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area. This designation is a tool that the global community can adopt for an area that needs special protection. Stephanie Buffum's presentation is available here.
The three presentations were followed by a round table discussion on "What happens if an oil spill is reported; on the ground response along the Strait of Juan de Fuca." The panel members included the three presenters and Jennifer Garcelon, Clallam County Solid Waste; Craig Cornell, MSRC and Jeff Ward, Clallam MRC.