Preparedness tips help Airmen weather any emergency situation

  • Published
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Typhoon season is around the corner once again, bringing with it the potential for damaging storms, rain and wind. With a few months before threats are imminent, now is the time for Airmen to prepare for weathering the season, or any emergency situation, safely. To put this in perspective, 2012 had almost 100 natural disasters occur across Asia, causing nearly 4,000 deaths and affecting over 65 million people. Amazingly, this was actually below the 10-year average of over 6,600 people killed annually by natural calamities.

In the immortal words of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the history of preparedness can be summed up in two words "Too Late." "Preparedness for any potential emergency or disaster is the key to restoring both you and your family's lives back to normal," said Tech. Sgt. Bruce Byrne, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management NCO in charge. "In addition, by preparing for the worst possible scenarios, individuals can enhance their ability to respond and cope during the recovery process while mitigating future incidents."

Now is the ideal time for individuals to build a 72-hour emergency action kit (refer to box at top right for items to include in a basic emergency action kit), to include resources like water, food and fuel, all of which may be difficult to come by in the moments immediately following disaster. You also want to ensure your legal documents are in order. You may be asking yourself at this point, "How will we know?" You will be notified of an emergency via the Giant Voice System, Commander's Access Channel, Watercooler, 36th Wing Facebook page updates and other official media outlets.

"The installation has a very effective warning and notification system that provides advanced warning during emergencies or disasters," said Airman 1st Class Jaime Barrientos, 36th CES emergency management apprentice. "It is important to monitor these notifications and warnings when they are issued so you don't get caught in a situation where you are not prepared. This ultimately increases the survival chances for everyone if the warnings are taken seriously."

There are four tropical cyclone conditions of readiness codes to help Airmen stay prepared and aware of what to expect when a potentially dangerous storm is near. TCCOR 4 is the lowest TCCOR level, meaning that destructive winds could hit within 72 hours.

June through December is designated as the Pacific typhoon season but Andersen, with its location on a tropical island in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, is always susceptible to typhoons and tropical storms year-round, hence the reason why we are always in TCCOR 4.

The next level, TCCOR 3, means destructive winds are probable within 48 hours and Airmen should secure outdoor items and furniture to prevent further damage during a storm.

TCCOR 2 means destructive winds are anticipated within 24 hours. At this time, everyone should make sure they've completed all prior steps in preparing for the storm and stay tuned to the TV and radio for updates.

Once TCCOR 1 has been determined, this means destructive winds are expected within 12 hours. At this time, all non-mission essential operations will stop and Airmen and their families should take cover for the duration of the storm.

When the storm passes, emergency personnel will complete all major recovery operations before giving the All Clear via the Giant Voice System, letting everyone know the environment is safe for Airmen and their families to resume normal activities.

"Nearly all emergency situations result in similar after-effects such as loss of power, water and communications," said Byrne. "Rest easy knowing all of your questions can be answered by the experts in the 36th CES Readiness and Emergency Management Flight. We are here to assist in your preparedness."

For more information on preparing for emergency situations, check out the "Andersen AFB Emergency Management" Facebook page, their monthly newsletters or give them a call at 366-3113.

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