In May 2015, a broken pipeline caused the Refugio oil spill which happened north of the Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, California. The spill required a considerable cleanup effort that involved multiple organizations providing a variety of essential services. BCFS Health and Human Services EMD was one of those organizations tasked with support. The nonprofit organization offers an array of disaster response, incident management, medical disaster response, and mass care services through partnerships with government agencies and private industry firms. 

For the Santa Barbara oil spill, the organization offered expert medical care for cleanup crews exposed to the potential damaging effects of the oil.  BCFS Health and Human Services EMD was engaged by the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH) and Plains All American Oil. It sent staff members from its Medical Staffing Team (MST) to the scene, who worked under the direction of the Unified Commander (UC). The organization’s dedicated team provided medical services and equipment to help manage the health of cleanup workers involved with oil removal and wildlife management. 

The organization’s team included a Medical Task Force Leader, a physician, registered nurses, case managers, and paramedics, who all worked together as a coordinated response. The team offered first aid and force protection services for the camp and beach operations personnel and aided medical case management during a 73-day on-site engagement. 

Jerry Green RSO, Sr. Division Safety/Security Manager Plains All American Oil, reported on the organization’s benefits to the Admiral of the U.S. Coast Guard. Mr. Green noted the safety team and medical staff performed their first aid duties quickly and were integral to the overall success of the cleanup mission