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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
REGION 8: Employees Get HAZWOPER Training in Carlsbad, Calif.
Region 8, October 27, 2008
Region 8 24-hour HAZWOPER class in Tyvek suits, Carlsbad, CA, October 2008 (photo by Sharon Taylor, USFWS).
Region 8 24-hour HAZWOPER class in Tyvek suits, Carlsbad, CA, October 2008 (photo by Sharon Taylor, USFWS). - Photo Credit: n/a
Region 8 HAZWOPER Class Instructors/Coordinators.  (from left to right: Robert Ford, CDFG; Jeff Westervelt, CDFG; Damian Higgins, FWS-Region 8; Judy Gibson, FWS- Carlsbad FWO, Sharon Taylor, Carlsbad FWO)
Region 8 HAZWOPER Class Instructors/Coordinators. (from left to right: Robert Ford, CDFG; Jeff Westervelt, CDFG; Damian Higgins, FWS-Region 8; Judy Gibson, FWS- Carlsbad FWO, Sharon Taylor, Carlsbad FWO) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Damian Higgins, Spill Response & NRDAR Coordinator
With several Service trust resources at risk from being impacted from oils spills along the California coast,  it is important for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have the capability to respond and assist in the cleanup of oil spills that may occur there.  This issue was well illustrated in the Cape Mohican oil spill in 1996, Kure and Stuyvesant oil spills in 1997 and 1998, and the more recent Cosco Busan oil spill in 2007.  Therefore, the first Region 8-sponsored HAZWOPER (HAZardous Waste OPerations Emergency Response) class was conducted for Service employees in early October.  This class, instructed by the California Department of Fish and Game's Office of Spill Prevention and Response,  was hosted at the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office in Carlsbad, California.  HAZWOPER,  is a type of OSHA training standard required of employees in responding to or assisting with oil spills. 

The 3-day (24-hour) course provided training to 45 employees representing several Service programs that included Conservation Partnerships, Endangered Species, External Affairs, and Refuges.  Employees learned several skills crucial in oil spill response and were tested on several topics that included principles of safety, toxicology, chemical hazard identification, and application of personal protective equipment.  This training provided employees with the certification to be a "limited" task worker allowing them to assist other responders who have  40-hours of HAZWOPER training. 

Nearly all of the Service's Environmental Contaminant Specialists have 40 hours of HAZWOPER training and are capable of responding to oil spills.  However,  HAZWOPER training such as the the one conducted in Carlsbad will lead to a larger team of employees capable of protecting and cleaning Service lands and resources when needed.  An additional HAZWOPER training course will be provided to more Region 8 employees in Spring 2009 and will be part of a curriculum addressed in a Region 8 Spill Response Plan. 

For more information about HAZWOPER training and other spill response efforts being conducted in Region 8, please contact Damian Higgins, Regional Spill Response & NRDAR Coordinator, at 916-414-6548.

Contact Info: Damian Higgins, 775-861-6337, damian_higgins@fws.gov