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Oiled Wildlife Response Training

 Requirements may vary by state, but these are some general recommendations for training you can receive online. 

Incident Command Structure, or ICS

Produced by the federal government and found on the FEMA website.  ICS 100 and 200 are recommended for veterinarians.  The link is  This training is online and free.  Higher levels of ICS training, such as 300 and 400, are only offered in person, and are not necessary for veterinarians in most cases.

HAZWOPER is an acronym

Hazardous waste operations and emergency response, or Hazwoper, training can also be obtained online.  Hazwoper 24 hour training is generally only required for those who plan to work in the field (such as on the beach) during an oil spill response.  It is not necessary to have Hazwoper training to work in a facility with oiled animals, although we do recommend it so you can better protect yourself and your staff from common risks. 

In order to be certified to go into a hot zone, you must have had the 24 hour Hazwoper training AND followed up each year with an 8 hour refresher course.  If you don’t keep current with the refresher courses, you have to start all over again with a 24 hour course.  When you complete your training (or refresher), you’ll be issued a card that has the type of training (24 or 8 hour) and date.  If you are working in the hot zone of a spill, you will be required to show your card.

 Many websites offer 24 hour and 8 hour training online for a fee.  Often these are generic or geared towards other industries, so they are not always the best in terms of oiled wildlife response.  However, if you anticipate collecting animals on the beach, you may want to go ahead and do it.  Most online courses cost in the neighborhood of $200 -$400 for the initial course, $30 - $60 for the refresher.  More applicable courses (e.g., those dealing with oil spills) may be available in your state or county from state or federal agencies or oil spill clean-up companies. 

 Regional Response Teams

It is a good idea to read the Regional Response Plan for your area and even get to know the people on it.  You can get more information (and find out your region) at  From here, you can figure out your area and look up your Area Contingency Plan for hazardous waste spills.  It is helpful to read your ACP so you have a feeling for what would happen in the case of a spill. 

--Oiled Wildlife Care Network, Wildlife Health Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, Davis, CA 95616


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Yulee, FL 32097 USA

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