Update 35: Escambia Disaster Response – Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Escambia Disaster Response – Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Friday, June 4 – 5:30 p.m. – Update #35

* If you see tar or oiled debris on the beach, DO NOT PICK IT UP. Report it to 1-866-448-5816.

* The beaches at Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key remain open.
* Escambia County Board of County Commissioners renewed the Local State of Emergency on Thursday, June 3 at the BOCC meeting.
* Tar patties and tar balls have been confirmed in widely scattered areas east of Pensacola, on Santa Rosa Island. Over 300 personnel were assigned to assessment, clean-up and boat crews for the mitigation efforts. The collected materials range in size from 3-18 cm in size. Floating tar mats were corralled and collected from inside the Pensacola Pass. There are tank barges staged in the bay and at NAS, standing by to respond as necessary.
* Reconnaissance flight missions are determining locations. Additional impacts are expected in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties within the next 72 hours.
* According to the NOAA oil plume model, the primary oil plume is 17 miles from Pensacola, more than 100 miles from Gulf County, and 280 miles from St. Petersburg, with non contiguous sheens and scattered tarballs closer.
* Oil sheen was reported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approximately five to six miles south of Pensacola Pass and southeast of Navarre.
* Strong southwesterly winds of 10-25 knots are expected today through Sunday which will push portions of the oil plume northeast towards the western Florida Panhandle. 4-6 foot seas across the northern-central Gulf today and 50-60% chance of showers and thunderstorms will hamper some recovery operations today. Winds and seas will weaken slightly through the weekend, but a 30-50% chance of rain will exist each day.
* With the spill’s closer proximity and winds from the south, an odor may be detected by residents.

* Reconnaissance flights are being conducted daily, weather permitting, to monitor Florida’s shoreline for impact.
* Unified command continues to check, verify the condition and make repairs as needed to currently placed booms. The county will work with Unified Command on any placement of boom within navigable waterways.

British Petroleum (BP)

* BP claims in Florida: 6,014 with approximately $4,489,215.03 paid

* There are reports of a scam involving individuals falsely representing themselves as BP employees and offering applicants training and promising job placement for a fee. BP does not charge to train and hire applicants. If you or someone you know has been charged for training, please contact law enforcement.
* BP is providing a $100,000 grant through a Memorandum of Understanding with Volunteer Florida to maintain a database for the regulation of volunteers. BP’s Florida Gulf Response web site: www.floridagulfresponse.com.
* File claims with BP online: http://www.bp.com/claims.
* BP’s claims office is located at 3960 W. Navy Boulevard, Suite 16. The office is currently open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice. BP claims categories
* BP recommends anyone with a claim call 1-800-440-0858 to help expedite the process. By calling the claims number, adjusters at the claims office will have the information prior to your visit.
* If you are not satisfied with BP’s resolution, call the Coast Guard at 1-800-280-7118.
* The BP community outreach office is open for citizens at 435 East Government Street. Representatives are available to answer any questions on volunteering, vessels of opportunity program, or any other oil spill related questions. Phone: (850) 912-8640, fax: (850) 912-8755.
* To register as a consultant, contractor, vendor or submit information on alternative response technology, services products or suggestions, call BP at 281-366-5511.
* BP Vessels of Opportunity – see the master vessel charter agreement and vessel requirements checklist online www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.
* To pick up or deliver completed Vessels of Opportunity packets, visit BP’s Community Outreach office at 435 East Government Street. For information, call 281-366-5511.
* Do not sign any documents in return from money from BP or anyone else until you know the extent of your loss. BP officials carry proper identification badges or business cards.
* BP does not use contractors to contact or solicit volunteers for cleanup. All training offered by BP is free. There are no fees for classes or registration.
* The Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, contracted by BP to provide assistance to oiled wildlife. All rehabilitation efforts must be coordinated through the service and Tri-State. Specific safety and other requirements must be met before anyone will be allowed on-site for any participation. If you have wildlife training, call 1-866-557-1401.
* Boaters are requested to report sightings of broken, disconnected or adrift boom and are asked to keep their distance from boom especially at night or in conditions of restricted visibility. Please report damaged, vandalized, adrift or stolen boom to: 1-866-448-5816. See details.

Federal (NOAA)

* Wednesday, June 2 – Local fishing areas remain open, however NOAA has again expanded the closed fishing areas in national waters. See details: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.

State of Florida (DEP, FWC)

* At the request of Governor Crist, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce expanded the fishery failure declaration for the Gulf of Mexico to include Florida on 6/2/10. This declaration provides impacted and eligible commercial fisheries the opportunity for federal support; it does not close fisheries.
* See DEP’s Homeowner Tips for Protecting Florida’s Shorlines (PDF)
* The Small Business Administration issued an economic injury Disaster Loan Declaration for the state of Florida. Pensacola office: 401 E. Chase St., Ste. 100.
* The fisheries, wildlife and seafood off of Florida’s coast in state waters are safe and there are no alerts at this time. See news release.
* Florida saltwater fishing regulations remain in effect as usual. More information.
* FWC press release on data collection on gulf red snapper to address oil spill impacts.
* Submit innovative technology ideas, suggestions or products by completing this form. Send the completed form and any supporting documentation to Innovative.Technolgy@dep.state.fl.us.
* For more information on Economic Injury Disaster Loans visit the SBA website.
* Video and audio public service announcements are available for download to educate the public on response, safety, coast watch and beach cleanup. See details.
* Report boom vandalism to the (800) 320-0519 or #DEP from your cell phone.
* An Economic Recovery Task Force was established facilitate efforts by businesses and industries in recovering from the loss of business and revenues due to the oil spill incident.

* A Legal Advisory Council was established to assess the impact the potential disaster could have on the state.
* For information on the Florida Small Business Development Center’s Mobile Area Command units, visit www.floridasbdc.org/Special Programs/bcrm.asp
* FWC temporarily suspended the restriction on use of purse seines landward of the COLRGEGS demarcation line in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
* Additional guidance to help small businesses survive a disaster can be found at www.MyFloridaCFO.com or by calling 850-413-3089 or toll-free 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).

Escambia County Board of County Commissioners and Staff

* Seventeen inland waterways could be boomed within 48 hours as part of the Local Area Plan (LAP). Once these booms are placed in their operational configuration, boaters will experience restricted access to these harbors and bayous. Booking Locations and Booming Maps.
* Escambia County has allocated over $3 million local dollars to date.

* Secondary and tertiary boom staging began Tuesday, June 1.
* Documents were signed Tuesday to allocate $700,000 in funding for tourism promotion with the Escambia County Tourism Development Council, with another $700,000 to be allocated in 45 days.
* EOC briefings will be held at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. until further notice.
* Escambia County’s Emergency Operations Center returned to a Level 2 (partial) activation.
* Hurricane season began June 1. See the Hurricanes and Oil Spill Fact Sheet (PDF)
* Escambia County is evaluating every viable proposal for coastal protection and recovery, coordinating with Unified Command and will share information as it is approved.
* Escambia County, in conjunction with the University of West Florida, is collecting gulf water samples from Santa Rosa Island and Perdido Key weekly to indicate any changes in water quality.
* On inland waters (bays, bayous, estuaries, rivers), private property owners may install oil absorbent material, booms or fences on private property above the mean high waterline (MHWL) only. No material may be installed or sprayed below the MHWL.
* On gulf-front property, the use of silt fences, obstructions, hay bales, peat, surfactants or other material is not approved. DEP is the permitting agency for beaches and coastal systems. No obstructions to sea turtle nesting behavior is allowed.
* Residents and business owners with water access on their property should have pre-assessments prepared (photos, video, etc. documenting the current condition of the property).
* If citizens see anything unusual on the beaches they feel needs to be reported:
o Contact the Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce at 850-492-4660 on Perdido Key
o Report to the lifeguards on duty on Pensacola Beach
* Deflective boom – large floating barriers that help contain floating oil – has been deployed in all locations of the Local Action Plan and Addendum One. See boom deployment progress report and map. Staff continues to evaluate areas and is monitoring all deployed boom.
* To keep waterways open as long as possible, boom is “wet staged” at some locations. When floating petroleum becomes an imminent threat, boom will be fully deployed. “Fully deployed boom” is described as boom anchored into a functional configuration.

Local Beaches

* SRIA lifeguards continue patrolling beaches for oil from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In the event beaches are impacted by the oil spill, it may be necessary to issue health advisories to protect health and safety.
o The Florida Department of Health will issue advisories as they become necessary for the area of affected water and shoreline.
o Beaches above the high tide line should remain open for sunbathing, walking, shopping and dining. The exact area for the advisories will be determined at the time oil is reported.

City of Pensacola

* The City of Pensacola continues to coordinate with Escambia County officials.

Volunteer Opportunities

* The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has determined volunteers cannot be used in any situation where they may come in contact with oiled shorelines or oiled wildlife.
* To volunteer, call BP at 1-866-448-5816.

Safety Information

* If you see a tar ball on the beach, DO NOT PICK IT UP. Report it to 1-866-448-5816.

* The Escambia County Health Department offers advice to residents experiencing symptoms from odors associated with the oil spill. (See details at www.escambiahealth.com.)
* Florida Department of Health Deepwater Horizon Health Information FAQs
* Seafood Consumption FAQs


* Do not attempt to rescue oiled or injured birds or wildlife as this may cause additional injuries.
* If oiled, injured or dead wildlife are found, call the Oiled Wildlife Hotline at 1-866-557-1401. Please provide location of where the wildlife was sighted.


* Boats should keep a safe distance from the booms. Do not drive boats over booms.
* Boat owners are urged to dry-dock boats. Do not drive your boat through slicks or sheens.

Beaches and Waterways

* Citizens should take precautions around waterways to avoid contact with oil substances.
* Officials are closely monitoring potential public health and environmental concerns.

Personal Safety

* Gulf coast residents may detect an odor because of the oil spill. Some are more sensitive to these odors and may experience nasal irritation and feelings of nausea. In combination with seasonal allergies or pre-existing respiratory conditions, some may experience more severe symptoms. For Air Quality Reports, see http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/air.html.
* Individuals who have pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory illness should contact their health care provider if feeling symptomatic.
* If you see or smell oil, leave immediately. Avoid skin contact with oil or oil-contaminated water.
* Do not swim or ski in areas affected by oil, and if you travel through the area by boat, take care when hoisting the anchor. Restrict pets from entering oil-contaminated areas.
* If you get oil on your skin, wash it off with soap and water.
* Do not fish in the oil spill-affected waters. Do not harvest and eat dead fish, fish with oily residue or fish that have a petroleum odor.
* Young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and individuals with underlying respiratory conditions should avoid the area.
* Report oiled shorelines to 1-866-448-5816.

Business Information

* More information about what types of damages are eligible for compensation under the Oil Pollution Act as well as guidance to seek compensation can be found at www.uscg.mil/npfc.
* Florida emergency management and economic development staff are gathering information from businesses impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Please complete their survey and help shape Florida’s response to this event. The survey will be updated periodically.
* Take detailed records of cancelled reservations. When cancellations occur, ask the party if the cancellation is related the oil spill. Keep the person’s name and contact information, and the revenues lost as a result of the cancellation.
* Businesses that may be negatively impacted due to the oil spill, are asked to keep detailed profit and loss records should a claim need to be presented.
* Calculate estimated losses for a six-week period and be able to provide records, sales receipts and documentation to support your claim. Compare business to a five-year average of revenues between May and June, which can offer insight as to the damages incurred.
* Make a detailed list of assets, including non-structural, and include appropriate records to support the list. Example: if your hotel or restaurant is within walking distance to the beach and that beach has oil reach its shores, the business’s assets could be damaged even though there is no physical damage to the structure. It is important to record this depreciation.

Citizen Information

* The Citizens’ Information Line is open, 471-6600, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Florida Oil Spill Information Line is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, 1-888-337-3569.