As hurricane season draws closer along the Atlantic coast, Naval District Washington (NDW) is once again preparing to conduct HURREX, an annual series of exercises aimed at increasing preparedness in the event of a weather emergency.
This year’s scenario, running May 5-16, involves a major storm moving its way up the east coast and testing naval installations’ preparation, response and recovery to a destructive weather event.
“This region will leverage HURREX-14 to conduct integrated training events for installations and tenant commands to exercise the Commander, Naval Installations Command (CNIC) All-Hazards Plan and NDW Region Response Plan,” said Joseph Goldsberry, lead exercise planner for NDW.
Throughout NDW, Goldsberry said each installation will be participating in the exercise to prepare both operational forces and the Navy family.
Major events scheduled include an emergency shelter opening at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB), a mass casualty event at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, a hazardous materials spill in Naval Support Activity (NSA) Washington, and the establishment of Emergency Family Assistance Centers, or EFACs, at NSA South Potomac and NSA Bethesda.
“In the event of a real hurricane, we expect a lot of flooding, power outages, and lack of communication ability,” Goldsberry said. “Those are the kinds of things we try to build into our exercise scenarios to create realism.”
Goldsberry said there will also be at least one day in the exercise where commands will be expected to function in an almost complete loss of communication through phone and internet networks.
“There are two really important things we get out of the hurricane exercise,” Goldsberry said. “Number one, we want all of our installations to be ready and have a backup business plan in case of a natural disaster like a hurricane. So from an operational standpoint, it’s important to train the force and train all of our business lines on what to do if the normal day-to-day operations of the Navy are disrupted by a natural event. I think also it’s important that the Navy family learn to prepare for a hurricane event, and that’s to build a package to get ready.”
Such packages should include emergency batteries, flashlights, radios, blankets, food and water. Being prepared in the first crucial minutes and hours after an emergency strikes is important, Goldsberry added, rather than trying to figure out what to do and what supplies one is supposed to have.
For information on how to build a kit, make plans and stay informed on emergency news, Sailors and civilian Navy personnel are encouraged to visit www.ready.navy.mil. Families may also take a readiness quiz on the site to test their emergency preparedness knowledge.
All military, civil service and contractor personnel with an NMCI or One Net user account are required to register for the Wide Area Alert Network (WAAN), which provides alerts through a variety of methods including exterior and interior loudspeakers, computer desktop notifications, and mobile text or email through cell phones.
The national hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30. For more information about hurricanes and weather updates, visit the National Hurricane Center website at www.nhc.noaa.gov.
For more news and information from NDW, visit www.facebook.com/NavDistWash.