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.
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.
· Deepwater Horizon continues to discharge an estimated 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) per day.
· Currently, there are no impacts to the state projected through Thursday; however, Florida continues to make preparations to safeguard the state’s shoreline.
· The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated at a Level 2 or Partial activation.
· On April 30, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency (Emergency Order 10-99) for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf Counties.
· On May 3, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist extended a state of emergency declaration (Emergency Order 10-100) for the coastal counties of Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota.
· Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Congressman Allen Boyd, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink were briefed today at the Emergency Operations Center on the state’s Deepwater Horizon response efforts.
· DEP has conducted water and sediment sampling to use as a baseline for ongoing monitoring.
· DEP is continuously monitoring air quality data. The current air quality is considered to be good statewide. The public is encouraged to monitor this data at http://www.airnow.gov/ or http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/.
· 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.
· 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/.
· 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.
· Emergency Support Function 15, Volunteers and Donations, successfully spearheaded pre-impact beach cleanups over the weekend of May 1-2. More than 1,200 volunteers participated in cleanups in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Wakulla counties to minimize the effect of the Deepwater Horizon incident. Volunteer Florida offers guidance for conducting safe pre-impact beach cleanups at www.volunteerflorida.org.
· Attorney General Bill McCollum cautions all Florida residents not to sign any documents provided to them in return for money from BP or anyone else until they know the extent of their loss, which may be significantly higher than the money being paid. These may be fraudulent or premature.
· The Attorney General’s fraud hotline is also open to receive any reports of fraud or price gouging. The hotline is 1-866-966-7226.
· There is approximately 87,800 feet of boom placed along Florida’s panhandle.
· An additional 19,000 feet are expected to be placed today and currently 58,400 feet staged and an additional 60,000 feet on order.
o Placement will be based on tides and where the oil is threatening and according to the Coast Guard Sector Mobile Area Contingency Plan. To view the plan visit Plan, visit http://ocean.floridamarine.org/ACP/MOBACP/StartHere.html.
· The booming strategy focuses on identified environmentally sensitive areas.
o Estuaries and inlets are at the top of the list, not the beach areas.
o This is to protect sensitive habitat that support wildlife and fish.
o If the oil washes on the beach, the sand can be cleaned.
· Note that booms are not a failsafe solution.
o They can become ineffective in high seas, strong winds, or currents over one knot.
o Resources are currently staged throughout the Panhandle in preparation for a response for our area.
· Florida’s counties are working through the State Emergency Operations Center. Each county provides input, but the operational decisions are made through the Unified Command. The State Emergency Response Team is working with the counties, BP as well as the federal agencies to maximize protection and minimize impacts.
· 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.
· Consider the following tips for avoiding negative health impacts from an oiled shoreline:
o Avoid entering areas where oil can be seen or smelled.
o Avoid direct skin contact with oil, oil-contaminated water and sediments.
o 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 with soap and water.
o Do not fish in oil spill-affected waters.
o Do not harvest or eat dead fish, fish with oily residue or fish that have a petroleum odor.
o Avoid boating through oil slicks or sheens.
o Young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and individuals with underlying respiratory conditions should avoid the area.
o Prevent pets from entering oil-contaminated areas.
· Impacts to Florida’s coastline could include tarballs – fragments or lumps of oil weathered to a semi-solid or solid consistency. Tarballs feel sticky, and are difficult to remove from contaminated surfaces. Should individuals observe tarballs or other evidence of oil on Florida’s coastline, they should leave the area and report the incident to (866) 448-5816.
· Those near Florida’s Gulf Coast may detect an odor because of the oil spill. Some people are more sensitive to these odors and may experience nasal irritation and feelings of nausea. In combination with seasonal allergies, such as sensitivity to pollen or pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, some people may experience more severe symptoms.
· Individuals experiencing symptoms that are aggravated by the odors from the oil spill should consider:
o Staying indoors, in air conditioning, and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity.
o If symptoms do not improve, contact a primary care physician or other health care provider for medical advice.
o Individuals who have pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory illness should contact their health care provider if feeling symptomatic.
Fisheries & Seafood:
· On May 3, 2010 NOAA restricted fishing for a minimum of ten days in federal waters most affected by the BP oil spill, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River to waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay. Details can be found here: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/. View map.
· FWC continues to coordinate closely with DEP and other partners to determine when and where closures should be executed for fishing activities in state waters.
· Fishermen who wish to contact BP about a claim should call (800) 440-0858.
· There are currently no seafood alerts at this time.
· Currently there are no Florida State park or beach closures. For more information about Florida State Parks visit: www.floridastateparks.org.
· The Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service is encouraging residents along the Florida Panhandle to participate in local beach cleanup events this weekend. For information on scheduled beach cleanups and other volunteer opportunities in your area, please visit www.VolunteerFlorida.org.
· BP has established a volunteer program and set up a toll-free number for those interested in volunteering. When calling, interested parties should communicate what activities they are volunteering and locations in which they are available to work. In addition, potential volunteers may call this line to learn about the training that is required to work in oil spill clean-up operations. For information on assisting with the response efforts, please contact BP’s community information line at (866) 448-5816.
· Today, the Florida Emergency Information Line was activated in response to deepwater horizon incident. The hotline, which provides Floridians information regarding the Deepwater Horizon Response, will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. until further notice. The number for residents to call is: (800) 342-3557
· For more information DEP established an email sign-up for information alerts on its website as well as a resources page containing fact sheets and tips pertaining to health, safety, wildlife, and pre and post-landfall preparations. To view tips and sign up for email updates, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon.
· The following is a link to the State Emergency Response Team Situation Report for Monday, May 3, 2010: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files/situation_report5_050310.pdf.
Joint Information Center Public Information Resources and Hotlines:
· Environment/community hotline: to report oil on the beach or shoreline or other environment or community impacts and access the Rapid Response Team – (866) 448-5816
· Wildlife: to report and access care for impacted, i.e., oiled, wildlife (866) 557-1401
· Volunteers: to request volunteer information (866) 448-5816
· Services – to register as consultant, contractor, vendor, or submit information on alternative response technology, services, products or suggestions (281) 366-5511
· Vessels of Opportunity – to report and register boats available to assist with response (281) 366-5511
· Claims - All claims regardless of amount should be routed through the Claims line for assignment of Claim Number. Claims will be tracked so status can be provided. (800) 440-0858
· Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobertLAJIC
· Facebook: Deepwater Horizon Response
· Joint Incident Command website: www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com