By Beth David, Editor
State and local officials, including Fairhaven and Acushnet emergency personnel, trained for an oil spill at Hoppy’s Landing on Thursday, 10/12, deploying boom and working to contain a spill created with peat moss. Fairhaven Fire-EMS, Fairhaven Harbormaster, Fairhaven Emergency Management, Acushnet Fire, Mass. Deartment of Environmental Protection (DEP), U.S. Coast Guard and Nuka Research took part in the exercise which focused on protecting the marsh and waterways in Little Bay on the east side of Sconticut Neck.
Peter DeCola, Senior Analyst at Nuka Research, said the peat moss simulates oil, allowing responders to test equipment in real world conditions. And, indeed, Thursday’s wind made for a pretty realistic exercise.
The Acushnet boat, with its small 25-horsepower motor, had an especially difficult time fighting the current and the wind.
“You got it out there, though,” said Mr. DeCola to the Acushnet crew. “Good job.”
Other than that, “It was textbook stuff,” said Mr. DeCola.
Fairhaven Fire Chief Timothy Francis said it was good for the crews to have to deploy in the windy conditions.
“It’s just practice,” said Chief Francis. “We just keep practicing and we’ll get good at it.”
He said one of the biggest goals of the exercise was to test the communications equipment, to make sure it worked among the various entities. He said he was pleased with how it all worked.
“It just shows we’ve come a long way with regional training,” said Chief Francis. “No town is an island. We will need the help of everybody if there is an incident.”
“I think it was a fantastic exercise,” said Julie Hutcheson, Section Chief for the Marine Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program at Mass. DEP.
“It’s important to know the goals. Safety is always a priority,” she said, and reminded everyone to notify the state if the equipment trailers are not fully stocked. “We don’t want these trailers empty.”
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