Unemployed Hired to Clean Affected Beaches

MOBILE, Ala. – The Unified Command in Mobile announced today the first deployment of the Qualified Community Responder (QCR) program that will put unemployed individuals to work in the counties that may be affected by the oil spill. Working closely with the Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida unemployment offices, unemployed workers have been hired to help with the cleanup effort. A similar program exists in Louisiana.

Starting today some 400 QCR workers in Florida and Alabama began cleaning affected beaches.

The QCR program secures local labor to help with a variety of tasks associated with cleaning beaches. QCR workers are trained and ready to help prevent and respond to the impacts of oil on the shoreline.

The plan is to train more than 4,500 workers in the three states in the Mobile Sector (1,500 in Alabama, 1,500 in Mississippi, and 1,600 in Florida). To date there are 2,946 people trained and ready to be deployed (978 in Alabama, 1,500 in Mississippi, and 468 in Florida).

QCR workers will perform shoreline cleanup activities that may include carrying and handling materials and supplies, raking or shoveling debris, operating front end loaders or power washers to clean rocks and beach areas, wiping or washing oil-covered items, and removing trash. These workers will not be dealing with impacted wildlife as there are specialists trained for those activities.

Safety is a primary concern, so all QCR workers have received extensive safety training and instruction on beach cleanup techniques for the activities they will be performing. All QCR workers will have the appropriate personal protective equipment and tools to clean the beaches.

The QCR program that hires unemployed workers is in addition to the states’ programs that will use potentially thousands of volunteers to walk the beaches looking for signs of oil in order to quickly identify areas needing cleanup.

The Unified Command has been established to manage response operations to the April 20, 2010 “Deepwater Horizon” incident. A Unified Command links the organizations responding to an incident and provides a forum for those organizations to make consensus decisions. The Mobile Unified Command includes Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida.

For information about the response effort, visit the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command website.

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