Expect the Expected

Hello there! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kyra Parker (formerly Kyra Mills, to those of you that knew me way back in a previous life), and I am the new Recovery and Transportation Specialist at OWCN. People introduce me as the “new Yvette”, since I am filling Yvette Hernandez’s shoes (someday I hope to have my own shoes, but until then I will gladly borrow Yvette’s, if she doesn’t mind!). I am very excited to be a part of the OWCN team and in the past three and a half weeks I have learned quite a bit about the inner (and outer) functionings* of oil spill preparedness and response (*I am already making up words, which seems to be a requirement for those who work here, as demonstrated by Mike’s blogs). On a daily basis I strive to learn as much as I can to be able to do the best job that I can do, although I am constantly reminded of how much I have yet to learn. Now don’t get me wrong…I am usually a pretty patient person, and I don’t expect to have things figured out in just over three weeks, but I am also cognizant of the urgency of getting up to speed as quickly as possible so as to be a valuable member of the team in the event of an oil spill. As a newcomer, the one thing that is a constant thought in the back of my mind, as I strive to learn the intricacies of this new job, is how much effort, energy and resources go into being as fully prepared as we can be for an oil spill. As an aside here, when I was learning to drive way back when I was a teenager, I will never forget the advice that my dad gave me: “expect the unexpected”. I often think of those words, not only when I am driving, but as I learn more about this job, since they also seem to apply fairly well in this line of work too. None of us wish for an oil spill, but unfortunately, it is a true and distinct possibility in this day and age, as the Deepwater Horizon event has reminded us so poignantly. In this sense, oil spills are not really “unexpected”, so perhaps a better phrase might be, “expect the expected”. We know that there will be more oil spills that will happen, and our job is to be ready. As I forge ahead in my effort to prepare for oil spills, I will also keep in mind that the success of a response is much more complex than one person being prepared – it is fully dependent upon the preparedness of the entire team, not only of our small staff at the Wildlife Health Center, but of the state and federal agencies and the entire Oiled Wildlife Care Network, as well as the numerous volunteers and the general public. We are all in this together, and that in itself is a big relief. OK, time to get back to preparing…

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