Founded in the wake of one of the most significant spills in California history, International Bird Rescue has been an integral part of global oil spill response for the past 47 years. To-date we’ve responded to over 225 oiled wildlife responses throughout the world. Spill response preparedness has remained a core mission of Bird Rescue since our inception. While emergencies may not arise every day, being prepared for them is a huge part of the work that goes into any sort of emergency response work, including oil spills.
To optimally prepare for an oil spill emergency, trustees, emergency responders, oil producers, and shippers all get together periodically to review their response plans and execute drill exercises. During drills, spill personnel and equipment is put to the test by “responding” to hypothetical spill scenarios just as they would in the event of an actual spill. The summer and spring months are a very busy time of year for these events, and we are often invited to participate in multiple drills throughout the season.
International Bird Rescue strongly supports these drill exercises and is happy to provide a voice for wildlife amongst all of the other players at the table in these large-scale operations. We use these opportunities to learn, network, and educate other emergency response participants about the wildlife operations that occur during a spill.
In May, Board Member Ron Morris participated in a tabletop drill in Washington State. The spill scenario occurred in the waters of Puget Sound, and Ron acted as the Deputy Wildlife Branch Director. As the former Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) for Spill Responses with the U.S. Coast Guard, Ron is well acquainted with processes of responding to a large-scale spill. When asked why he supports these collaborative drills, Ron spoke to what an excellent opportunity these drills are for working with and meeting fellow responders and gaining experience in new skillsets. “You don’t fail these things.” Ron proclaimed, “They are always an opportunity to learn.”
To learn more about our work in oil spill response, see our website.