Yesterday, the OWCN conducted a full deployment oil spill drill at the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Facility in San Pedro. Over 30 participants representing 9 Network Member Organizations made this event a tremendous success. We focused upon the activation and set-up of the facility for oil spill response, and the readiness of animal care and other facility-based personnel. We simulated the deployment of our response equipment and all the steps of animal care from intake and processing to post-cleaning care. Throughout the drill, Mike Ziccardi delivered regular “injects”, which are memos containing simulated events that drive the scenario and require drill participants to create solutions to increasingly difficult challenges.
The full deployment drill was held in conjunction with a National Preparedness for Response Exercise (NPREP) hosted by the US Coast Guard in Ventura, California. The drill scenario involved a vessel and tanker collision in the waters just beyond the Channel Islands. This sensitive habitat is home to a broad diversity of marine animals. We tested our plans and readiness to care for marine birds, marine mammals, and even marine invertebrates such as the endangered black abalone.
At the end of the day, we gathered together for our hotwash discussion of what went well during the drill and what areas could be improved to further increase our readiness for oil spill response. For me, this is always the most informative and inspiring part of the drill. I walk away with pages of notes about new projects and ideas to enhance our response capabilities, as well as an affirmation of my confidence that the capable, creative, and resourceful individuals and organizations who make up the Network are ready for the next spill response challenge.