First responders train for aquatic crises

20 Jun 2013 | Cpl. Charlie Clark

Approximately 35 personnel were certified as operational-level first responders after completing training as Facility Response Team members during a five-day course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, recently.

Affects of oil and hazardous spills impact the flora and fauna in long and short term, disastrous forms such as pollution, mutations and destruction of the ecosystem.

According to Marine Corps Order P5090.2A, the Marine Corps shall prepare to respond to Marine Corps Oil and Hazardous Substance spill incidents and undertake immediate direct action to minimize the effect of the release of hazardous substance into the environment.

Response teams are composed of environmental and fire personnel from aboard Camp Lejeune.

These courses are designed for domestic and overseas locations. Domestic instruction includes U.S. Coast Guard regulations, while the overseas course emphasizes local regulations in place of U.S. regulations.

Courses are site specific and instruct team members to execute the sensitive area protection strategies outlined in their Facility Response Plan, understand regulations involving oil spills and how to contain and recover oil on water.

The course instructors provided classroom instruction to the students. Later, they practiced their response plans near the Wallace Creek Bridge while utilizing boats to maneuver their hazardous substance prevention tools and equipment.

The training is designed to familiarize team members with spill response equipment and exercise strategies for shore line protection and sensitive areas.

The instructors grade the students on overall response posture, response plan effectiveness or deficiencies, sensitive area protection strategy and equipment operational status or deficiencies.

This information helps managers improve their response program and the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center to provide any additional material support required.

The response team is responsible for the protection of 42 miles of publically accessible coast line.

Having a response team aboard Camp Lejeune ensures immediate response if an on-water release would occur.

The students’ interaction during the course taught them how to react during a mishap and how to act as a cohesive unit in a time of crisis.

The next training is slated for May 2014 when the students from this class will be recertified and more first responders will be trained for any mishap aboard base and on the waterways.