Florida panhandle braces for oil spill

Whether you’re planning a vacation to Florida or you’re concerned about the impact of the oil spill affecting the Gulf Coast, there are several resources available, announced State of Florida’s official tourism marketing organization yesterday.

Visit Florida is serving  as a key provider of information to the tourism industry, the media and visitors. The latest information shows that a state of emergency has been declared for six gulf coast counties and a Deepwater Horizon Public Information Site has been set up. The site offers tips for residents and visitors to take precautions both pre and post-landfall.

Rapid response teams have been deployed to shorelines to evaluate and determine clean-up efforts to minimize the impact to the environment. Response efforts are focused on protecting critical natural habitats with booms. Up to 90 percent of the most important areas near Pensacola have booms already in place. Currently, all beaches are open.

May is the hatching season for many birds, reptiles, and shellfish. Individuals should not attempt to help injured or oiled animals, but should report any sightings to the Wildlife Distress Hotline: (866) 557-1401.

For information on how to volunteer with pre-impact activities, please visit Volunteer Florida.

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