MIAMI–(ENEWSPF)–June 19, 2010. There are thousands of people who have expressed interest in volunteering along the Florida Peninsula and the Keys as part of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill planning efforts. “The best way for individuals to help is to vacation in Florida and help contribute to the local economy,” said Wendy Spencer CEO Volunteer Florida. “For those who want to volunteer, they should connect with a local social service agency and offer to help in their efforts to meet local needs.” The Florida Peninsula Command Post (FPCP) is assisting with these coordination efforts.
To help manage volunteers, the Florida Peninsula Command Post has partnered with Volunteer Florida. Volunteer Florida assists in matching local volunteers with local volunteer groups. The first step is to visit www.volunteerflorida.org to register and get connected to volunteer organizations in your area.
Take the following steps to get connected with volunteer groups in Florida related to the response:
- Get Connected – Register with Volunteer Florida. Log onto www.volunteerflorida.org or call 1-800-354-3571.
- Get Affiliated – A list of local organizations will be provided when you register with Volunteer Florida.
- Get Assigned – Local organizations may contact you with specific assignments in your area once you have registered.
- Get Informed – Log on to www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com to review a wealth of information about the oil spill.
Volunteers must meet the requirements of the local organization they wish to assist. Age, health, and licensing requirement questions should be directed to the local organizations. Some of the volunteer positions include:
- Delivery / Runners: Volunteers may assist with carrying supplies, transporting personnel and other duties as assigned.
- Volunteer Coordination: Should a volunteer reception center be needed, volunteers will manage the center. Individuals must have experience working with a wide variety of people and volunteers.
- Coast Watcher: Volunteers are community members who are very familiar with local beaches and can report any changes that may be attributed to the oil spill incident.
- Pre-impact shoreline and riverbank clean up: Volunteers will assist with clean up of coastal areas in an effort to minimize the amount of debris that could become contaminated. There are limited opportunities in this area. Volunteer efforts at the wrong time or in the wrong place can cause further harm to sensitive areas.
Volunteers will be trained for their assignments by the local organizations with whom they are partnered. Volunteers are not compensated and do not handle oil or oil products, oiled wildlife, or other hazardous materials. Check with your organization for more information.
In addition to non-paid, volunteer positions, limited job opportunities may be available through Florida Gulf Recovery Jobs. People interested in searching job opportunities for the response should visit: www.floridagulfrecoveryjobs.com. You may also call 1-877-362-5034.
QUALIFIED COMMUNITY RESPONDERS (QCRs)
Any activities involving direct contact with oil, oiled wildlife, or other hazardous materials, must be handled by Qualified Community Responders (QCRs) and others who already have the specific permits, training, and skills that are needed. The FPCP is not activating a QCR program or training in the Florida Peninsula at this time, but encourages people to frequently visitwww.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com or www.volunteerfloridadisaster.org/QCRS.html for updates.
VESSELS OF OPPORTUNITY (VOO)
A Vessels of Opportunity plan has been developed that provides local boat operators an opportunity to assist with response activities should they be needed. The VOO program has been effective in areas where spill response is occurring. The FPCP is ready to initiate the VOO program in the Florida Peninsula and Florida Keys, if necessary.
Please visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com or www.volunteerfloridadisaster.org for updates. If VOO plans are activated in your area, information on the application process and required training will be provided.
The Florida Peninsula Command Post is the Unified Command element for monitoring and response activities related to the Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill from Taylor County south along the Florida Peninsula to Monroe County in the Florida Keys and Miami-Dade County north along the east coast of Florida to Nassau County. For questions about Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill response activities in the Florida Panhandle, contact the Mobile Incident Command Post at (251) 445-8965.