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Exercise and evaluation improves management of specialist response equipment

EUROWA partners met in Hamburg for a second equipment inspection and evaluation exercise aimed at refining and maintaining the stockpile of specialised oiled wildlife response supplies in readiness. ProBird, one of the EUROWA partners, kindly provided local support for the event.

As they did in the first equipment exercise in 2015, the partners took all the gear out of its boxes to check for completeness and condition, and replace expired supplies. This year the project team members were using a new electronic database developed to streamline management of the stockpile. Reports that will be derived from this database will serve as the EUROWA equipment handbook, part of the technical deliverables for the project.

For each item information such as its purpose, supplier details, specifications, expiry date and safety data was complied for inclusion in the handbook being developed for the stockpile. The handbook will provide a standard format that will make it easier for responders to administer and maintain the equipment, to deploy it, to instruct others in its use, and to be able to order replacement consumables or spare parts as needed.

The event also included a tabletop exercise for the EUROWA partners to identify which rehabilitation facility departments need which pieces of equipment for the individuals and teams performing the wide variety of tasks involved in a response, as well as equipment needed in each room of the facility.  Lessons from the exercise will help towards defining an overall strategy for determining what equipment is needed where, what should be stockpiled and maintained, and what can be easily obtained locally in the event of an incident. The equipment database will aid in the decision-making process for equipping a wildlife response during a European mobilisation.

The stockpile, presently housed in Germany, is kept in 21 aluminium containers preapproved for shipping to speed the process of moving the gear in the event of an oil spill.  Discussions are currently underway regarding moving the equipment to a longer-term home as maintaining and managing this stockpile is an important part of ensuring readiness to respond should a spill affecting wildlife occur within the region.

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