Heritage continues to focus on emergency response preparedness through training, re-training, and hands-on practice. As a United States Coast Guard (USCG) certified Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO), Heritage completes annual training exercises in accordance with the Coast Guard’s OSRO Classification Program. Our Toledo, Louisville, Indianapolis, Lemont, Wood River, Tulsa, and Coolidge Service Centers, as well as 4 customers, were represented with over 40 total participants for the Boom Utilization and Deployment training on April 5 and 6 at Carlyle Lake.
The primary purpose of an OSRO is to serve as a trained emergency response resource to our customers, or responsible parties. In many cases, the responsible party may not be equipped to handle a release, and Heritage is contracted to respond with the essential personnel and equipment to assist in the recovery efforts. In order to maintain its USCG certification, Heritage must perform and document annual exercises, maintain personnel records, equipment inventories, and meet minimum boom and temporary storage capacities. Learn more here: https://www.uscg.mil/npfc/about_npfc/opa.asp
Day 1 focused on classroom training with presentations on USCG Certification Requirements (Kevin Reinhard), OSRO Roles and Responsibilities (Andy Holtkamp), Incident Command System (ICS) Utilization (Angie Martin), Oil Recovery & Booming Strategies (Scot Lawson), Acid & Caustic Spill Scenarios (Michelle Kirchner and Jake Wilson), and General Water & Boating Safety (Joe Rohlfing). Classroom training also provides a great opportunity for locations to share best practices and lessons learned.
Day 2 was entirely hands-on with 4 modules of different booming strategies and boating operations. The group was broken into teams which rotated among the modules concentrating on shoreline protection, cascade, “U” & “J” sweeps, and exclusion zone booming. The teams operated four 23 foot aluminum work boats, in conjunction with a land-based support team, and deployed a total of 3,800 feet of 18 inch skirted boom in multiple configurations with accompanying anchoring systems.
Although these exercises are necessary to maintain Heritage’s certification, the primary objectives of annual drills are to ensure that our staff is highly trained, performs safely and effectively, and understands the significance of our role in protecting the environment in the event of a release.
We wish to express our gratitude to the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for their cooperation and permitting us to use Carlyle Lake for this exercise.