Wednesday, April 22

Preparedness and Prevention

I spent this last weekend observing the training that fishing vessel owners go through to participate in Ship Escort/Response Vessel System known as SERVS around here.  SERVS is funded and run by the Alyeska Pipeline Company which is a group of oil companies that own and run the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) and the Valdez Marine Terminal (VMT) where the oil is loaded onto tankers.  I am a board member of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizen's Advisory Council (PWSRCAC) that is made up of citizens from communities affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  We work to give citizens in those communities is voice in the safe transport of oil through the sound.

So...back to the weekend...the training was both Saturday and Sunday from 7am-6pm with an hour off for lunch.  It included a 5 hour HAZWOPER training along with sessions to familiarize fisherman with all of the various equipment they might encounter in cleaning up a spill.  On Monday and Tuesday fisherman have an opportunity to practice with all of that equipment on the water.

I learned so much from this training and I was only an observer!  The days started early and were long, but went by quickly.  The weather was a total disaster the three days I was involved, though folks on the water on Tuesday saw mostly sunshine.  My long johns and rain gear got a good work out, that's for sure!

Here are a few pictures from Monday when I spent the day on the barge where they stage the response gear.  We got to watch the gear being offloaded to various boats and see it in action all around us.  In the afternoon we took part in a 'fly over' where we went out in a little boat to check on everyone and see how things were going up close.  I know I keep saying it, but it was such a learning experience for me!

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