As the region gets deeper in to autumn personnel may begin to see familiar sights around Naval District Washington (NDW). Familiar calling cards of fall like changing leaves and cooler temperatures will settle over the region, but a less pleasant season coincides with autumn - hurricane season.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov.1, with fall typically seeing more tropical storms and hurricanes than the summer months of hurricane season, according to the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center. Naval District Washington prepares regularly for the event of a hurricane, most notably during the annual HURREX/Citadel Gale Exercise. The exercise trains personnel in the practices and procedures of hurricane preparedness from the fleet to installation level. But as effective as these exercises are in preparing NDW installations for a hurricane, leadership stresses the importance of hurricane preparedness by personnel and their families out in town as well. They advise personnel to be prepared prior to the start of the hurricane season, particularly those that live in areas prone to hurricane impact.
“To be most prepared for destructive weather in the NDW Region we recommend that personnel have and rehearse an individual or family preparedness plan; update their information in the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System [NFAAS]; and self-register/update their information in the NDW Wide Area Alert Network and alerting systems of local civilian jurisdictions where they live and/or work to get timely information on destructive weather threats,” said Thompson Gerke, senior operations planner for NDW. “It is also important that personnel be familiar with the applicable NDW installation destructive weather plan and that they understand their role and responsibilities in their command’s or activity’s internal destructive weather plan.”
For making a personal or family emergency plan, the Navy provides helpful information via the Ready Navy website at www.ready.navy.mil.
Ready Navy suggests that personnel have a number of things ready to go in case of an emergency, especially one that may require evacuation like a hurricane. Individuals and family members should have a firm plan in place of where to go, what to do, and what to take if they need to evacuate during a hurricane. Emergency kits should include enough food and water to last several days, necessary medications, and other items such as maps, tools, flashlights, and a first aid kit. Evacuees should also stay informed of up-to-date information regarding road and base closures, unsafe traveling conditions, and weather warnings.
“Following your local weather updates and ensuring compliance with preparedness guidance is an essential part of the process,” said Larry R. Nelson, director of training and readiness for NDW. “Advanced preparedness is the key to having an advantage over an inclement weather situation.”
Having a portable, battery or hand crank operated radio will provide personnel with local updates, as will registering with the Wide Area Alert Notification (WAAN) system. NDW personnel can receive AtHoc WAAN alerts through workstation alerts, email, phone calls or texts. To register with the WAAN, visit http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/ndw/about/waan.html.
Ready Navy advises everyone to know what to do in case of a hurricane. Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies. Listen to the radio or TV for more information and further instructions; secure your home by closing the storm shutters and bringing outdoor furniture inside; ensure a supply of water for household purposes; turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting and keep the door closed; turn off utilities, if told to do so. If an evacuation order comes, do not ignore it; follow the guidelines given regarding times and routes and take only essential items and your emergency kit.
For more information on how to stay prepared during hurricane season, visit www.ready.navy.mil.
For more information on emergency preparedness and other news in NDW, visit www.facebook.com/NavDistWash.