In addition to the oil spill response equipment issued to Santa Barbara’s Waterfront District in 2008, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) awarded the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) two $30,000 grants earlier this week to help the community prepare in the event of another oil spill.
Such grants are available to any local public agency or tribe in California. To be considered, agencies must be at risk for an oil spill to occur in state waters within their jurisdiction. Santa Barbara’s OEM began application processes for the grant in fall 2014.
“Having these assets on hand and readily available only makes us more capable to respond to future incidents. Although we’ve been coordinating with the OSPR to receive this equipment since before the Refugio Oil Spill, we look forward to having this training and enhancing our local capacity to assist first responders,” said OEM Director Ryan Rockabrand in a prepared statement.
Each grant provides 1,000 feet of containment boom, absorbent materials, a mobile trailer, and boom deployment training for the county’s first responders, including County Parks, Fire Department, and Environmental Health employees. The grant is meant to bolster oil spill preparedness throughout the county and increase the number of resources available in the event of another spill.
Along with its federal partners, the OSPR focuses on responder efficiency and safety in terms of safeguarding environmentally sensitive archaeological sites during an oil spill. The office also prioritizes conservation and preservation of communal areas, such as waterfronts and inlands used for recreational and commercial purposes. In order to help protect communities’ livelihoods, natural cultures, and qualities of life, the OSPR works with various local agencies to minimize the consequences of oil spills through grant provisions and hands-on training. Throughout California, the OSPR has awarded over 40 oil spill prevention supply packages.
“The Refugio Incident reminds us how important it is to have trained first responders and oil spill response equipment to deal with the immediate threats of an oil spill in an effort to protect California’s resources,” said Grant Coordinator Cindy Murphy. “This equipment will enhance the county’s resources to be able to do just that.”