LEE COUNTY, Fla. - If that oil comes here, Southwest Florida is ready to handle it - thanks to one woman. She has the equipment, experience, and volunteers to keep the oil off our beaches.
Right now, people are just watching and waiting - hoping oil doesn't end up here. WINK News spoke with one woman who has devoted her life to this cause for the past 17 years.
If the oil spill near the panhandle moves near Southwest Florida, Joanne Semmer is ready. So are her 300 volunteers. She is the founder of the Ostego Bay Oil Spill Co-Op... and has had her eyes on the gulf for days. She said she has never seen a spill of this magnitude.
"That's a lot of oil. I think we could clean up the 200,000 gallons of oil but we don't know when it's going to stop."
Lee County Emergency Operations Center is also watching and waiting.
Employees sat in on a state-wide conference call with Emergency Management.
"With this oil spill we're actually looking and preparing based on the counties that are north of Lee County."
Semmer has trailers and storage units full of things to stop oil from spreading - including 3,000 feet of boom. Semmer said this gear may save our beaches... or it may stay locked up.
"We're just going to have to wait and see."
Semmer said since this oil spill has threatened Southwest Florida, she has been bombarded with calls from people interested in being trained to help in case the time comes.