Every season has its share of potentially destructive weather events and summer is no exception. Naval District Washington installations must stay aware of these threats and ensure the region is properly prepared for natural disasters.
The Navy prepares for the threat of tropical cyclones with a yearly exercise called HURREX/Citadel Gale. The purpose of this annual exercise is to prepare commands to respond to weather threats to U.S. coastal regions, and to maintain the ability to deploy forces even under the most adverse weather conditions. HURREX 12 is currently underway and runs until April 27.
Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) will participate in HURREX 12 through several "behind the scenes" events designed to test the installation's ability to prepare for destructive weather.
According to NSAB Director of Emergency Management Ron Kunz, many people in the region often focus on adverse winter weather but forget to prepare for hurricane season which generally runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
"People seem to remember events like ‘Snowmageddon’, but because we feel like we're inland here, we don't tend to get too worried about hurricanes, but even inland they can generate very strong wind and rain," said Kunz.
An event scheduled to test the installation's response to destructive weather, is the evacuation exercise of Tranquility Hall, which houses wounded warriors.
One of the key criteria’s for success during the evacuation is the 100 percent accountability of all personnel in Building 62, because the command considers the safety of its service members and their families the highest possible priority, especially during violent weather. Accountability is emphasized before, during and after destructive weather.
"We will be coordinating with local fire and rescue to test our Mutual Aid Response agreements and our ability to immediately respond to a required evacuation in difficult conditions," said Kunz.
The evacuation drill will take place on Tuesday. Affected residents of Building 62 will receive fliers to help them prepare for the event.
"The intent of this event is to balance our ability to properly provide for the safety and security of our wounded warriors during an incident, while also trying to make the exercise as minimally disruptive as possible," said NSAB Executive Director Bill Meekins.
For more information on preparing for destructive weather, please visit the Naval Safety Center website at: http://www.public.navy.m il/navsafecen/Documents/media/safetips/f-m/hurricane.doc
For more information on Navy Family Emergency Preparedness, please visit: http://www.cnic.navy.mil/CNIC_HQ_Site/WhatWeDo/FamilyLine/FamilyPreparedness/index.htm