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    Posted June 18, 2010 by
    Destin, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Track the oil disaster

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    GREAT Oil Spill FACTS & INFO


    The following information is being made available to people along the Panhandle......Information obtained from NOAA and local Destin officials: Situation Update ·      Navarre Beach and Santa Rosa’s entire coastline is open for swimming and fishing.  Two links to live Web cams on Navarre Beach are available at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill. ·      Today, June 16, there were reports of a continuous scattered trail of dime to quarter dollar-size oil patties and tarball mats. ·      Oil product was spotted today, June 16 by air reconnaissance and confirmed approximately five miles off shore south of Ft. Walton, west of Navarre and extending to the state line.  Skimmers were requested. ·      On June 15, there were three confirmed oil debris reports on Navarre Beach, Pensacola Bay, Pensacola Pass and Santa Rosa Sound. Multiple quarter to half dollar-sized tarballs were found from Navarre Beach Pier east to the Eglin boundary were also found. ·      According to NOAA projections, additional impacts are expected throughout northwest Florida within the next 72 hours due to onshore winds. ·      Relatively weak winds (below 10 knots), low seas (below 2 feet) and low rain chances are expected to continue through the next three days, which will be favorable for surface oil recovery operations. Winds are expected to turn west-southwesterly in the afternoons.  A tropical wave in the central Atlantic has a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours. ·      Citizens are asked not to have direct contact with oil and oil contaminated products such as tar balls, tar patties, tar mats, and oil sheen.  Only qualified members should handle oil products and oil contaminated materials.  To report tar or oil on the beach, call the Florida State Warning Point Line at 1-877-272-8335 or # DEP from a cell phone. ·      Perdido Pass, Pensacola Pass and Bayou Texar are navigationally restricted during flood (incoming) tide and reopen during ebb (outgoing) tide as water flows out to the gulf. They are manned to allow access to necessary vessel traffic. Boaters in areas where skimming is being conducted, or where boom has been set, have been requested to maintain no-wake speeds. ·      Skimmers have been deployed in our area and are actively skimming 24-hours a day as weather permits. ·      Some beach cleanup crews will work at night and early morning starting today, June 16 due to the summer heat which can melt the tarballs and make it more difficult to pick up and to minimize heat related health risks to cleanup personnel. ·      Unified Command policy requires all on-shore and near-shore cleanup workers to follow a work/rest cycle to ensure their safety and well-being. In conjunction with OSHA approval and the collaboration of a board-certified doctor, all workers are required to follow heat stress management plan work schedules. The schedule requires specific work-rest regimen which differs depending on the heat index at the moment, the work being done and the type of protective clothing being worn. ·      There are 302 Qualified Community Responders and 1,047 beach clean up personnel actively working the cleanup effort in the Florida Panhandle. ·      Reconnaissance missions are being coordinated daily from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee using air, land, and sea assets from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Civil Air Patrol, and the Florida National Guard. Current local operations include: o        Nearshore Task Force #1 & 4- Conducting oil recovery operations at the mouth of Pensacola Pass o        Escambia Divisions 1, 2 & 3- Operating from Perdido to Navarre to deploy, inspect, maintain and reconfigures boom, investigate and respond to reports of oil, support wildlife branch activities and beach clean debris to minimize need for disposal of contaminated waste. o        Offshore Recovery Task Force #702 & 704- Deployed south of Pensacola to recovery oil product. ·      There is no planned use of dispersants in Florida waters. ·      Unified Area Command has consolidated a report of fish and wildlife collected in the Deepwater Horizon/BP incident impact area.  The report is updated each day at noon and is available at http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doctype/2931/55963. Santa Rosa County Actions ·      A plan was developed for local reconnaissance and teams were sent out today providing real time information on oil products including photos and GPS coordinates. ·      Emergency Management requested reconnaissance and recovery assets near the Pensacola Pass be prepositions due to the reoccurrence of product in the Pensacola Bay. ·      A staff member from Santa Rosa County Emergency Management was placed in Unified Command on June 12 located in Mobile, AL to represent Santa Rosa, Escambia and Okaloosa counties and help ensure rapid response and better communications between the counties and Unified Command. Each county will have the opportunity to send a staff member to represent the three county areas, rotating every seven days. ·      County staff and reconnaissance teams continue to monitor beach conditions daily generally from day break until 6 p.m. ·      On June 2, the EOC returned to a level 2, or partial activation with essential staff, from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. until further notice. The Santa Rosa County Citizen Information Line at (850) 983-INFO or 4636 is open 24 hours daily. ·      Santa Rosa County and the State of Florida continue to make preparations to safeguard the state’s shoreline. Booms ·      Oil containment boom (in feet) total in Florida: 355,810 o        Tier 1: 185,100 / Tier 2: 123,500 o        Tier 3: 47,210 ( deployed by Florida contractors) ·      Three additional boom sites were approved today, June 16 including:  Mulat Bayou- 775 feet of boom, Soundside Drive Bayous in - 520 feet of boom, and the extreme eastern portion of East River in Holley- 400 feet of boom. ·      An additional booming plan for Santa Rosa County that was drafted by the state’s contractor WRS for the county, was approved by unified command and the plan and booming map are posted at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill, shown as a blue cross on the map (some locations have two crosses to show point to point locations). o        The following booming sites, which are in addition to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Area Contingency Plan, were  deployed by Santa Rosa’s selected state contractor and left open for navigation and will be closed upon imminent threat:  Zamarra Canal, Gilmore Bayou, Woodland Bayou, Villa Venyce, Santa Rosa Shores, Hoffman Bayou, Polynesian Isle, East River, and two booms in Pensacola Bay o        DRC, the contractor, is responsible for monitoring, maintaining and disposal of any oil material ·      Booms located in Santa Rosa that have been left open for navigation to date, may begin to close this week.  Boaters in these areas should monitor the local media or www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill for the latest on boom closures. ·      Residents are asked to stay clear of boom on beaches and in open water. Boom has been placed to protect environmentally sensitive and strategic areas and damaging or removing the boom puts those areas at risk. Crossing boom can cause serious damage to vessels.  ·      Spill responders are asking for the public’s help in monitoring boom along the Gulf Coast. Boaters are requested to report sightings of broken, disconnected, or adrift boom; and encouraged to keep their distance from boom especially at night and in conditions of restricted visibility.  Report damaged, vandalized, adrift, or stolen boom to 1-866-448-5816. Health ·      June 14 water quality testing performed by the University of West Florida showed no dissolved petroleum hydrocarbons at Pensacola Beach Pier, Navarre Beach Pier, River Road and Perdido Key. ·      Air quality reports for June 14 revealed that air quality was good for the ozone and moderate for fine concentrations in the panhandle.  “Good” means the air quality is satisfactory and air pollution poses little of no risk.  “Moderate” means air quality is acceptable for most people.  ·      The Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Protection are closely monitoring health and environmental impacts to Florida. Current advisories are posted at: www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/health.htm and www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill under “What’s Hot.” ·      The Florida Department of Health, in coordination with DEP and VISITFLORIDA has developed an online mapping resource that contains the most up-to-date health advisory information for Florida’s beach waters.  This information is available at www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/health.htm or www.visitflorida.com/florida_travel_advisory/.  ·      Syndromic surveillance, or using health-related data that would warrant further public health response, has been heightened in six coastal counties from Escambia to Gulf, monitoring for potential health effects. ·      The tar balls that are found resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill pose no different health risk than tar balls that are commonly found on Florida beaches. The Department of Health and DEP are closely monitoring health and environmental impacts to Florida’s beaches and will notice an advisory if conditions become unsafe. o        For most people, an occasional brief contact with a small amount of tar balls, while not recommended, will do no harm. However, some people are especially sensitive to chemicals, including the hydrocarbons found in crude oil and petroleum products. They may have an allergic reaction or develop rashes even from brief contact with oil. If contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water, baby oil, or a widely used, safe cleaning compound such as the cleaning paste sold at auto parts stores. Avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, or similar products on the skin. These products, when applied to skin, present a greater health hazard than the smeared tarball itself. BP Claims ·      Today, BP announced that it has approved initial payments toward 90 percent of commercial large loss claims that have been filed as a result of financial losses of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Using an accelerated process BP approved payments of 337 checks for a total of $16 million to businesses that have filed claims in excess of $5,000.  Initial payments began over the weekend and will be completed this week.  The remaining outstanding commercial large loss claims are awaiting documentation and are continuing through the process. ·      A BP Community Outreach Center has been opened in Gulf Breeze at: o        1198 Gulf Breeze Pkwy., Ste. 6, Gulf Breeze FL 32561 o        Phone (850) 691-9116 ·      BP Claims for Deepwater Horizon can be submitted at www.bp.com/claims. ·      To serve the residents of Santa Rosa County, BP opened a claims office in Midway on Friday, May 14. The office is located at 5668 Gulf Breeze Parkway Unit B-9 in Gulf Breeze. Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice. o        BP recommends anyone with a claim to 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. o        BP claims in Florida total 13,978 with approximately $11,248,856.44 paid. o        BP claims in Santa Rosa County total 1,244 with approximately $897,640 paid. Small Business Disaster & Bridge Loans ·      On June 7, Governor Charlie Crist activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which will provide emergency, short-term loans to established small businesses in the designated counties. Applications for businesses will be available Monday, June 14, 2010. To receive an application or more information on the program, please contact the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development at (850) 487-2568, or the Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (http://www.ffcfc.com) at (850) 681-3601. ·      Governor Crist announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved disaster loan funds for businesses along Florida’s Gulf coast that have been impacted by the Deepwater Horizon incident. o        SBA representatives opened a disaster loan office on Tuesday, May 18 at the Navarre Visitor Information Center located at 8543 Navarre Parkway (U.S. Hwy 98) in Navarre. Hours of operations will be 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday- Saturday until further notice. o        More information can be found at: www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance/SERV_DISASTERASSISTANCEGOV.html Loan Applications Issued: 331 Accepted: 72 Declined: 14 Approved: 2 Loan amount approved: $255,000.00 Vessels of Opportunity (boats) program ·      BP is looking to contract shrimp boats, oyster boats and other vessels for hire through the Vessel of Opportunities Program to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. For more information 907-301-8878. ·      302 vessels have been deployed in Florida for the Vessels of Opportunity program. ·      Submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system: (281) 366-5511 Fishing ·      All Santa Rosa County waters are currently open to fishing. Oil has not affected most of Florida waters and there are vast amounts open for fishing and other recreational activities and the FWC encourages everyone to fish where the waters are clear and to enjoy freshly harvested seafood products in these areas. Updated information regarding fishing advisories or harvest closures in Florida due to the BP oil spill will be posted online at http://myfwc.com/OilSpill/index.htm. ·      The FWC is taking precautionary actions and has issued a partial harvesting closure of saltwater fish and marine vertebrates.  This closure covers state waters from the Alabama state line east to the Pensacola Beach tower (approximately 23 miles east and out nine miles from the coastline. Interior bays and estuaries remain open to fishing. The closure does not affect oysters, clams and scallops. Catch and release is still allowed.  For more information visit http://myfwc.com/OilSpill/index.htm ·      To help prevent tainted seafood from reaching the market, NOAA created a seafood sampling and inspection plan. Just after the beginning of the spill, it collected and tested seafood of commercial and recreational fish and shellfish species from areas where oil from the spill had not yet reached. NOAA is using ongoing surveillance to evaluate new seafood samples to determine whether contamination is present outside the closed area. If fish samples have elevated levels of oil compounds, NOAA will consider whether to expand closed areas.  ·        The FWC & NOAA Fisheries Service strongly advises fishermen not to fish in areas where oil or oil sheens (very thin layers of floating oil) are present, even if those areas are not currently closed to fishing. Details can be found at:  http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/    Boats ·      Vessels are advised to avoid spill areas. ·      Vessels that must transit through the affected zone should maintain a safe speed through the oil that appears light, bright and on the surface. Vessels should avoid pockets of heavy black oil to ensure safe navigation. ·      If traveling through an oil affected area by boat, take precautions when hoisting the boat anchor. If oil makes contact with skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water. Recommendations can be found on cleaning at www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon  under Resources. Important Phone Numbers ·      Florida Oil Spill Information Line is- available from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. EDT daily for citizen’s questions. - 1-888- 337-3569 ·      Fraud Hotline- 1-866-966-7226. ·      Submit Alternative Response Technology Services & Products- email horizonsupport@oegllc.com or call 1-281-366-5511 ·      Report Oiled Wildlife- 1-866-557-1401 ·      Report Oiled Shoreline to State Warning Point- 1-877-2-SAVE-FL (1-877-272-8335) or #DEP from a cell phone ·      To Report Oiled Shoreline to BP- 877-389-8932 ·      BP Toll-Free Claims line- 1800-440-0858 ·      BP’s Community Information line- 1-866-448-5816 ·      Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner gas price-gauging hotline: 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352). General Safety Information www.santarosa.fl.gov Citizens can signup to automatically receive breaking news alerts from Santa Rosa County Emergency Management via e-mail or as a text message on their cell phone at:  www.santarosa.fl.gov/emergency/publicwarning.html. The Santa Rosa County Citizen Information Line at (850) 983-INFO or 4636 is open 24 hours daily. For general health information regarding the oil spill and exposure to oil spill products contact the Florida Poison Control information centers at 1-800-222-1222.

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