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NEWS | March 25, 2024

NOAA, Coast Guard conduct shoreline cleanup course

By Tech. Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard to host a Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Techniques, or SCAT, course at USCG Station Charleston and areas around the Lowcountry, March 19-21, 2024.

More than 20 students from federal and state agencies as well as industry partners learned the techniques, tactics, and procedures to assess an area impacted by an oil or hazardous product spill or discharge. 

“Oil spills can cause major environmental harm,” said Jacqueline Michel, Research Planning Inc. president and SCAT training instructor. “We want to help people make the right decisions about best methods to ensure recovery happens as soon as possible.” 

From classroom instruction to hands-on shoreline training, the attendees were equipped with the tools and the talent to evaluate and clean up an oil spill in many different environments. 

The joint training environment also promotes a great working relationship prior to an emergency. 

Training like this is very beneficial,” said Lt. Michael Allen, USCG Sector Charleston Incident Management Division chief. “We make connections and network with our partners and other agencies that we would run into in the field, so we’re not meeting them for the first time during an actual incident. It’s much easier to accomplish our mission and effectively respond to a situation when we know who to call ahead of time.”

In the event of an actual oil or hazardous material spill, speed is paramount. Just like any emergency situation, the faster the first responders arrive, the more contained and less impact an incident will cause.

It is imperative that anyone who witnesses a sheen on the water or suspects a possible hazardous event reports it to the National Response Center. Their 24-hour response hotline is 1-800-424-8802.