Ohmsett Trains Oil Spill Responders


Ohmsett – The National Oil Spill Response Test Facility, located in Leonardo, New Jersey, is dedicated to providing independent and objective performance testing of full-scale oil spill response equipment; improving technologies through research and development; and for providing realistic training to response personnel. The U.S. Minerals Management Service manages the facility as part of its mandated requirements by the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) ‘90 to ensure that the best and safest technologies are used in offshore oil and gas operations and emergency response.

Ohmsett focuses on technical, classroom, and hands-on training for spill response personnel and prepares responders with the most realistic full-scale training before an actual spill. In partnership with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), Texas A&M University National Spill Control School, and SL Ross Environmental Research Ltd., Ohmsett has developed a comprehensive course program that includes: USCG Class C Response Technician training, Oil Spill Response and Strategies Training (in English and Spanish), and Dispersant Training for the Oil Spill Responder.

Each course emphasizes classroom exercises and practical hands-on use of the oil spill equipment and technologies in realistic conditions. Classroom exercises are performed under the direction of certified industrial hygienists and experienced emergency responders. The program also incorporates the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) Incident Command Systems (ICS) training.

Following classroom instruction, students receive hands-on training in the tank where they practice recovering real oil, with full-scale spill equipment used in the field, under conditions that simulate an actual oil spill. During all tank exercises, students train with a variety of oils ranging from light and medium fuel oils, to heavy viscosity refined oils, as well as crudes and emulsified oils.

At the completion of the tank exercises, students review their oil recovery efficiencies and critique their videotaped performances. Recovered oil is evaluated in terms of Oil Recovery Efficiency (ORE) and Throughput Efficiency (TE). A high ORE score is good and indicates that the skimmer and the operator have recovered mostly oil, as compared to water. A high TE score is good and indicates that the skimmer and the operator have recovered most of the oil spilled.
These factors are used throughout the week to measure the student’s increase in proficiency and to determine the overall effectiveness of the training course.

Key words: Oil Spill, Training, Response, Incident Command Systems (ICS)

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