On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire occurred on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig 130 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers were killed and 115 escaped. Two days later, the rig sank and unleashed a deep-sea spill that ultimately spewed 170 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico and on the shores of Louisiana.
From April 24 to December 15, the Governor, along with the State Unified Command Group, met daily at GOHSEP. The overall incident included 19,595 responders and 2,398 vessels that deployed over 1.5 million feet of oil boom.
“British Petroleum accepted responsibility for the cleanup, and the Federal On-Scene Coordinator was the U.S. Coast Guard,” explained Ms. Wendy Brogdon, Senior Operations Officer, Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). “The only say Louisiana had in the cleanup was how clean was good enough for us,” she noted.
The overall incident included 19,595 responders and 2,398 vessels that deployed over 1.5 million feet of oil boom. “A single command post proved impossible in this effort,” Brogdon said. “WebEOC provided the vital interconnectivity and communications needed to respond to this disaster.” Early in the response, Governor Bobby Jindal told the press, “We have made WebEOC available for BP and the Coast Guard to use.” “The Coast Guard had been using Excel for spill tracking,” according to Melton J. Gaspard, Jr., WebEOC Administrator, GOHSEP. “Once they saw the power of WebEOC, they jumped on board.” The only problem was that every 14 days the Coast Guard rotated WebEOC personnel. “But because WebEOC is so user friendly, we implemented a ‘Train the Trainer’ program allowing them to train their new incoming staff,” Gaspard said. “BP wanted to create its own oil tracking system. We asked why? We told them we’re doing it right now with WebEOC,” he said.
Over the course of the activation, they gave permissions to 846 new users, created 70 new positions unique to the oil spill (including 22 response positions), opened 8,574 missions, assigned 8,625 tasks and logged 28,935 comments. The comments include the details of where they cleaned oil and how they did it. “We have detailed backup of everything that was done throughout the incident,” Gaspard said. “With so many new users, we tried to keep it simple with one WebEOC process,” he said. “We used one mission task board to collect, manage and disseminate information.”
State Agency claims were also tracked internally through WebEOC. Thirty-four agency finance positions were added which provided a system to keep the Governor informed of how much was being spent on the cleanup per day. “The silver lining in all this is that now the Governor knows the capabilities of WebEOC,” Brogdon said. “His Department Heads are also talking WebEOC and more and more state agencies want to learn and use WebEOC. Intermedix support staff have always been there for us through events like Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and now the oil spill. Know that Intermedix always has your back,” she added.