Coast Guard, partners conduct oil spill exercise in Kotzebue, Alaska

Coast Guard, partners conduct oil spill exercise in Kotzebue, Alaska


Well today we’re in Kotzebue and we’re working
with some of the locals to do some outreach and education involving the subarea contingency
plan and just some oil spill 101. Preparing is huge and letting the locals who are going
to be the first ones on scene see kind of all of the coordination and the equipment
that’s going to go into responding to a big oil spill and I think that’s really important
for nipping the oil spill in the initial stages. More than just deploying the gear there in
Kotzebue, we exercised the logistics chain of getting the equipment. We also have the
Pacific Strike Team involved and getting their equipment from California up to the Arctic
as well as getting our equipment from Anchorage up to the Arctic. So there’s a lot of lessons
learned from that process on the logistics side of the house before we even actually
splashed gear in the water. My name is Edward Flemming – born and raised here Kotzebue.
I live in Deering right now but I’m the search and rescue – the first responders. Every time
somebody gets lost we go out and try to find them. To be able to talk to my guys back home
in Deering and tell them what was good here – We want to conserve our way of life by subsisting. We had ideal conditions today which is great. It gave us a real good opportunity to get out on the
water with the equipment that we had and get it out, get it wet and take a look at it.
I think we had some good input from the locals that made our strategy even better than it
was. Protecting their resources and helping them better prepare for an oil spill. So this exercise was very well received. Matter of fact when we got back from the trip, we already
had a request from Nome to do the same thing next year. So I think it’s something we’re
going to try to incorporate with Arctic Shields in the future and try to get our equipment
deployed up there and working with the locals and do a two to three day exercise where we
can get all these parties involved. For people to see how much equipment it actually takes
and the manpower and then actually seeing it placed and put in motion is really key
and I think that’s the most successful part of the exercise.

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