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What Is Oil Spill Training?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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There are several components to oil spill training, from containment and recovery to cleanup. Understanding prevailing winds and current flow are two of the most important factors in containing an oil spill. Weather patterns and tides are both areas that are covered in oil spill training and understanding these two components can often aid in preventing the oil from spreading. Cleanup is one of the most time-consuming aspects of oil spill training due to the many types of cleanup that stem from such an event, encompassing plant, animal and water life.

Oil spills impact nearly every type of natural occurrence and life form in a spill area. Understanding how to minimize the damage imparted is the main objective of oil spill training. Time is of the essence when an oil spill occurs and having properly trained people on the ground in a spill area is a great advantage. In any body of water, there is a current. The ways of using a current to the cleanup team's advantage are covered in oil spill training. Oil barricades are placed in such a manner that the current directs any oil into them and makes it easier to remove and capture.

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There are several different methods of placing oil barriers, with each method having a positive reaction to some set of criteria. The governing bodies of any spill area will commonly mandate the method used to collect the spilled oil. Actions learned through oil spill training typically use all of the natural, oil-gathering forces to the advantage of the collection team. These include using wind and water current to gather and drive the spilled oil. With the spread of the oil contained, the cleanup of the wildlife and the land surrounding the spill are typically put into action next.

While the spilled oil must be cleaned from the land and water as soon as possible, removal of oil from wildlife is often most urgent. There are many ways demonstrated in oil spill training to clean the heavy crude oil from animals and birds, however, none is more effective than simply washing the oil from the animals with a gentle, oil-fighting detergent and rinsing them with clear water. Of primary importance is the treatment of the animals' eyes and any ingested oil that can poison and potentially kill the animal. When cleaning the land and waterways, removing the oil from food sources, such as clams and freshwater mussels, is a critical component of oil spill training to prevent poisoning those animals who eat them.

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