BP trains Jackson Co. residents to clean up possible oil spill - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

BP trains Jackson Co. residents to clean up possible oil spill

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - As South Mississippi keeps a watchful eye on where the oil is going, 60 Jackson County citizens are now trained and ready to clean up the mess. BP is offering  hazmat training courses in Pascagoula to help with the costal crisis. 

The thought of oil threatening South Mississippi waters worries Matt Jenkins. The contractor and fisherman says the toxic stuff can do damage on and offshore. 

"The oil is going to have a terrible impact on the wildlife, and fishing, recreational," Jenkins said.

So he and 31 others signed up to take a six hour hazmat training course, so they'll be ready to help clean up the oily mess if it pushes this way. 

"Beware of tripping hazards and clothing being caught. You can trip over any of this and fall face down it," the BP Instructor said. 

BP is sponsoring the free classes that focus heavily on safety. 

"What life jacket doesn't save your life?" the instructor asked the class. "One you are not wearing." 

The city of Pascagoula's Bruce Knott is helping with the training. He said so far 60 people have completed the hazmat course this week. 

"We have college students in here; we have people who have worked on boats before who don't have employment right now," Knott said. 

The group is also required to take a hazmat test to be a certified oil spill cleaner.  

"These people will be marketable for any company that is going to be cleaning up actual oil."  

One thing they won't be doing is cleaning wildlife. Knott said extra training is required for that task. 

"The commercials you see where the duck just sits there while you clean it, is not reality. We don't want anyone out there handling this material that will cause them more harm." 

Knott is encouraging more people to sign up and be ready to clean up our shoreline. 

"This is not our spill. We didn't do it, but we want to clean it up. We want to take care of us." 

The hazmat training will continue for two weeks. For more information about classes call Pascagoula's City Hall. 

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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