Campus News

Security's Carol McAllister Part of Oil Spill Response Team

Story posted August 09, 2010

Associate Director of Safety and Security Carol McAllister, a commander in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) reserves, is back on campus after having spent nearly two months called to service to help in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response effort in the Gulf of Mexico.

Carol McAllister150.jpg
Carol McAllister

McAllister worked on a team directly supporting Thad Allen, the recently retired USCG four-star admiral who is serving as national incident commander of the ongoing oil spill response.

"Initially, I was assigned to Adm. Allen's spill response support staff at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C.," says McAllister.

"However, when I arrived, I was sent on a three-day trip to the Unified Area Command (UAC) in Robert, Louisiana, to review processes and procedures in order to familiarize myself with the situation so I could return to D.C. and work on regional and national strategic planning issues. Additionally, I was to visit one of the subordinate operational Incident Command Posts (ICP), located in Houma, Louisiana."

McAllister was directed to remain in Louisiana and use that experience and her expertise to streamline information flows and improve the reporting of key operational information from the field all the way up to senior leadership in D.C.

To do this, McAllister established a team and coordinated with the ICPs across six states to develop a standardized, comprehensive daily situation report that was submitted directly to Coast Guard headquarters and decision-makers including the commandant, national incident commander, secretary of Homeland Security and the White House.

McAllister has been well trained for such assignments. In March 2010, McAllister served as deputy planning chief for the USCG's Spill of National Significance (SONS) drill, which took place off the coasts of Portland, Maine; Portsmouth, N.H., and Boston, Mass.; and in Washington, D.C. The scope of that exercise was similar to this real-life spill, designated the first SONS since that of the Exxon Valdez. She has held active-duty, reserve and civilian-status positions with the USCG since 1993 and has extensive experience working in emergency management. She was last activated for six weeks during the initial response to Hurricane Katrina.

McAllister also is a continuity of operations planner, and before arriving at Bowdoin, worked for the American Red Cross as executive director, participating in pandemic flu preparedness, and assisting with the Fort Kent and Patriots Day flooding that impacted residents across Maine.

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