Oil spill response advisor impressed with Guyana volunteer team

0
Participants in the Voluntary Emergency Response Team (VERT) workshop

The level of interaction and involvement of more than 40 Guyanese who participated in a recent oil spill response (OSR) training workshop has been lauded by Exxon Mobil Corporation OSR Advisor, Thomas Tomblin, who said the class even surpassed some conducted in the US.

ExxonMobil Guyana recently facilitated the training workshop for more than 40 members of the Voluntary Emergency Response Team (VERT). In a statement on May 24, the company said Tomblin, who led the workshop, was supported by representatives of The Response Group, an industry leader in Crisis Management and Emergency Response.

The workshop covered Incident Command System (ICS) training among others, and the volunteers were given the opportunity to test their techniques in the field on the final day. ICS is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach that allows for integration of facilities,. equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure.

“This was the best class we’ve had, they really were interactive, even better than some of the classes we do in the United States,” Tomblin stated. He explained that the idea is to ensure that the Civil Defense Commission and other authorized agencies have the capacity to respond to an oil spill.

Meanwhile, one participant, Renata Robertson, said she is pleased to now be able to provide some support to response professionals. “We can also go into the fields and help or assist in deploying basic equipment like booms and skimmers. We are still undergoing training and some additional technical training will be required for us to provide additional support in the event that this should happen.”

VERT, which is an initiative of Guyana’s Civil Defense Commission (CDC) in partnership with ExxonMobil Guyana, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), University of Guyana (UG), and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), aims to train volunteers in the area of Disaster Risk Management. It was launched on March 17, 2019.

With Guyana set to become a major oil producer in the region, efforts have been underway to enhance emergency response mechanisms and build the capacity of key agencies.

ExxonMobil Guyana said it is eager to support this programme since it is aligned with the company’s approach to oil spill risk management; which is to plan, prepare and practice.