Sunday, May 2, 2010

FLORIDA DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE DAY 3

The State Emergency Response Team, in support of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as the lead response agency for the state of Florida, is actively monitoring the Deepwater Horizon response. Currently, there are no impacts to the state projected through Wednesday; however, Florida continues to make preparations to safeguard the state’s shoreline.
The following is a summary of state and BP response actions to date, as well as tips for residents and visitors to take precautions both pre and post-landfall.

Response efforts by the state of Florida to date include:
- DEP established an email sign-up for information alerts on its website on Saturday, May 1, as well as a resources page containing fact sheets and tips pertaining to health, safety, wildlife, pre and post-landfall preparations. To view tips and sign up for email updates, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon.
- On Saturday, May 1, DEP concluded water sampling to use as a baseline for ongoing monitoring. Air and sediment baseline sampling is still taking place.
DEP, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), county governments, water management districts and several federal agencies continue to conduct pre-impact assessments, including sampling of water, fish, shellfish and habitats along the Florida coastline and into the Gulf of Mexico.
- Air monitoring for particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) conducted by DEP in coordination with Pinellas County on Monday last week revealed that air quality in the area was classified as “good.” Statewide monitoring is ongoing in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Panhandle-specific data is expected to be completed early this week. To view Florida’s air quality data, visit http://www.airnow.gov/ or http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/.
- FWC made biologists with shoreline wildlife expertise available at two beach clean-up events in Wakulla and Escambia counties this weekend to inform, educate and advise volunteers as they worked to clean up man-made debris in conjunction with Volunteer Florida.
- The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated at a Level 2 or Partial activation.
- Governor Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency (EO 10-99) for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf Counties on Friday, April 30, 2010.
- The State Emergency Response Team has representatives at the Unified Command at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Sector Mobile, helping to coordinate the efforts to protect Florida’s shoreline.

BP Actions for today:
- To date, BP has deployed 74,900 feet of boom in the Pensacola region. Today’s goal is for the deployment of an additional 18,000 feet.
- As of 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, 45,000 feet of boom was on site at the Naval Air Station Pensacola. An additional staging area is being established in Panama City.
- Today’s booming efforts are focused on protecting critical natural habitats identified as “3 Diamond” and “2 Diamond.” Up to 90 percent of the “3 Diamond” areas near Pensacola have booms already in place.
- Efforts continue to deploy resources toward the east.
- To view the Coast Guard Sector Mobile Area Contingency Plan, visit http://ocean.floridamarine.org/ACP/MOBACP/StartHere.html.

Recommended environmental actions:
- Rapid response teams are staged to deploy to shorelines affected by oil to evaluate and determine an appropriate clean-up effort to minimize the impact to the environment. To report any sightings of oil residue, please call BP’s oil report line at (866) 448-5816.
- If any air quality changes are suspected, residents may report them at http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/.
- May is the hatching season for many birds, reptiles, and shellfish. Individuals should not attempt to help injured or oiled animals, but to report any sightings to the Wildlife distress hotline: (866) 557-1401.
- Homeowners may be able to help prevent any oil from reaching yards and damaging sensitive vegetation by utilizing sandbags or sorbent booms.
- It is important to note that booms are not a failsafe solution. They can become ineffective in high seas, strong winds or currents over one knot.
- To obtain more information on these types of protective measures, report an oiled shoreline or request volunteer information, individuals should contact BP’s community information line at (866) 448-5816.

Recommended health actions:
- At this time, there are no indications of any health risks to Floridians due to the Deepwater Horizon incident. The Department of Health (DOH) and DEP are closely monitoring health and environmental impacts to Florida’s beaches and will notice an advisory if conditions become unsafe.
- While counties make beach closure determinations, the State Emergency Response Team has guidance forthcoming to assist counties in making that determination.
- DEP is continuously monitoring air quality data, and air quality is rated in five categories, from “good” to “very unhealthy.” The public is encouraged to monitor this data at http://www.airnow.gov/ or http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/. If air quality is determined unhealthy, consider the following tips:
- Stay inside, in an air-conditioned room and change the air-conditioner filter to ensure peak performance.
- Avoid strenuous activities outside.
- Anyone who experiences difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or other serious symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
- Impacts to Florida’s coastline could come in the form of tar balls –fragments or lumps of oil weathered to a semi-solid or solid consistency. Tar balls feel sticky, and are difficult to remove from contaminated surfaces. Should individuals observe tar balls or other evidence of oil on Florida’s coastline, they should leave the area and report the incident right away to (866) 448-5816.
- Consider the following tips for avoiding negative health impacts from an oiled shoreline:
- Avoid entering areas where oil can be seen or smelled. If any oil is sighted or smelled, leave the area right away.
- Avoid direct skin contact with oil, oil-contaminated water and sediments.
- Do not swim or ski in areas affected by the oil spill, and if traveling through the area by boat, take precautions when hoisting the boat anchor. If oil makes contact with skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water.
- Do not fish in the oil spill-affected waters.
- Do not harvest and eat dead fish, fish with oily residue or fish that have a petroleum odor.
- Avoid boating through oil slicks or sheens.
- Young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and individuals with underlying respiratory conditions should avoid the area.
- Restrict pets from entering oil-contaminated areas.

Recommended volunteer opportunities:
- For information on how to volunteer with pre-impact activities, please visit www.VolunteerFlorida.org.
- BP has established a volunteer program and set up a toll-free number for those interested in volunteering. For information on assisting with the response efforts, please contact BP’s community information line at (866) 448-5816. When calling, interested parties should communicate what they are volunteering for what areas they are available to work in. In addition, potential volunteers may call this line to learn about the training that is required to work in oil spill clean-up operations.
- Those wishing to submit alternative response technology, services or products, contact (281) 366-5511. For information on the vessels of opportunity (boats) program, call (425) 745-8017.

For the most up-to-date information on Florida’s Deepwater Horizon response, as well as health and safety tips, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon. The following is a link to the State Emergency Response Team Situation Report for Sunday, May 2, 2010: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files/situation_report4_050210.pdf

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