In May 2015, BCFS Health and Human Services EMD responded to the efforts to manage an oil spill that occurred north of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County. The organization is a nonprofit partner of government agencies and private industry and has deep experience in mass care, disaster response, incident management, and many other related capabilities. It responded to the 142,800-gallon spill by sending members of its Medical Staffing Team (MST), a group experienced with disaster-related medical care operations.
This team worked under the guidance of the Unified Commander (UC) who was tasked with the entire cleanup operation of the nearly nine-mile-long oil slick. The MST offered medical services for the cleanup crews tasked with oil removal and wildlife management within the oil affected areas. MST’s group included registered nurses, case managers, experienced paramedics, an on-site physician, and a Medical Task Force Leader who coordinated the overall medical response. The team provided first aid and force protection services for the workers at the beach sites for the cleanup crews tasks with removing tar balls and other oil-related debris. They also provided care for the camp operations and supported medical case management during the entire 73-day operation.
Jerry Green RSO, Sr. Division Safety/Security Manager Plains All American Oil, reported positively on the team’s efforts to the Admiral of the U.S. Coast Guard. He stated the safety team and medical units effectively managed incidents by providing affected people with first aid.