From flooding events to oil spills, NOAA works to ensure that local, state, and federal responders are prepared and understand threats, potential consequences, agency authorities and responsibilities, and available products and services aids in planning, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts. NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center, part of the Office of Response and Restoration, developed and provided three stakeholder-focused NOAA Regional Preparedness Trainings (NRPTs) across the Gulf to address specific response issues and enhance regional preparedness within NOAA and partnership agencies and groups.
The first NRPT, in Galveston, Texas, focused on improving response for oil spills impacting the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The course examined response options such as dispersants and in situ burning in highly sensitive protected areas. The NRPT in Mobile, Alabama, focused on understanding affected stakeholders and threats from a natural disaster and concurrent spill on commerce and the environment in the Port of Mobile and adjacent sensitive habitats. The third NRPT, St. Petersburg, Florida focused on improving responders’ knowledge and abilities to communicate information regarding controversial and alarming publicly sensitive topics - such as dispersant use, seafood safety, fisheries impacts, and public health concerns - to the public.