A three-day oil spill response training workshop wrapped up with members of the Volunteer Emergency Response Team (VERT) programme participating in a simulation exercise at Splashmin’s Resort on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.
The workshop, which is a collaboration between the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and ExxonMobil, was launched on May 21, 2019, and engaged VERT participants in sessions geared towards capacity-building in oil spill response.
In an invited comment to the Department of Public Information, ExxonMobil’s Oil Response Advisor, Thomas Tomblin, expressed being impressed with the team’s response.
“They were inquisitive and super sharp… we’ve done this in the past and we’ve gotten some interaction, but these guys were spot on, they were great.”
He explained that the VERT participants were engaged in a two-day class session on the Incident Command System (ICS) training before moving on to some simulated exercises. On Thursday last, the participants were split into five teams where they were trained to deploy and use oil spill response equipment. “We’ve got containment boom, we’ve got skimmers, we’ve got shore seal boons, we have shoreline protection, so they’re going to get a good opportunity to test all of those techniques,” Tomblin said.
VERT participant, Renata Robinson is satisfied that volunteers are now in a better position to respond to an oil spill if it occurs. “From the training, we can provide some liaison to the professionals, and we can also go in the fields to help and assist in deploying basic equipment like our booms and our skimmers.”
Another participant of the programme, Leslyn Garraway, said while the workshop was challenging, “it was a learning experience”.
CDC Director-General (DG), Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig disclosed that the oil spill response training will be a continuous element of CDC’s training programme.
“Apart from training the VERT participants, all volunteers who work in the communities will have exposure to oil spill training as well as other training sessions offered by the CDC,” the DG related.