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Andersen prepares for typhoon exercise Pakyo

  • Published
  • By Airman First Class Whitney Tucker
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The Pacific Northwest is prone to tropical cyclone activity 365 days a year. Because Guam is located within this tropical belt, the possibility of a storm is ever-present making natural disaster planning a high priority for the island.

To maintain sharp emergency response procedures and prepare residents for adverse conditions, the 36th Wing, in conjunction with local government agencies, is scheduled to conduct typhoon exercise Pakyo, June 8 through 17.

"It has been two years since Andersen has conducted a typhoon exercise and there are many new personnel that need to learn proper typhoon readiness procedures," said Maj. Bruce Murren, 36th Wing Inspector General. "We are conducting this exercise to practice how we would actually respond during a typhoon. We will go through all the typhoon conditions of readiness and follow the appropriate procedures when a change dictates."

Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness are broken down into four categories, the mildest being TCOR 4; each level requires a specific set of measured actions to ensure maximum preparedness.

"Here on Guam, we are always in TCOR 4 due to the year-round threat of typhoons," said Master Sgt. Carlos Durden, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness and Emergency Management superintendent. "Day-to-day operations are conducted, but we maintain a heightened sense of awareness."

If conditions worsen, TCOR 3 is implemented indicating winds of at least 58 miles per hour are expected within 48 hours.

"During TCOR 3 housing residents must secure outdoor items that may become projectiles," Sergeant Durden said. "It is important to remember to secure name plates located outside your home as they can be extremely harmful if dislodged. You should also purchase any supplies you are lacking, ensure you have cash and fill your vehicle with fuel."

The procedures for TCOR 2 are set in motion when winds of 58 miles per hour or greater are expected within 24 hours.

"This is the time to close and secure your shutters, park your car in a protected area and fill bathtubs, basins, sinks and washing machines with as much water as you can stockpile," Sergeant Durden said. "This will allow you to bathe, hand-wash clothing and flush the toilet without power. For drinking, pack the freezer with containers of water. You also want to have a radio and plenty of extra batteries for communication and updates."

Finally, TCOR 1 is implemented when winds of at least 58 miles per hour are expected within 12 hours. There are three divisions of TCOR 1: caution, emergency and recovery. Each calls for a different course of action than the last, Sergeant Durden explained.

"During TCOR 1 caution the gates will close and only mission essential personnel movement will be permitted," he said. "If you need to get on base, be sure to do so during TCOR 2. In the next phase of TCOR 1, emergency, no one is allowed outside. This means the typhoon has hit and going outdoors can be life threatening. TCOR 1 recovery is enacted when the storm has passed. Obviously everyone wants to come out and look at the aftermath, but only damage assessment teams are permitted outside during this stage."

When the all-clear is given, TCOR 4 will be implemented indicating Team Andersen members may leave their homes. Until this time, the use of generators is not permitted.

"Andersen residents can expect base-wide power outages during a typhoon, so they can expect them during the exercise," Sergeant Durden said. "However, generators are not to be used unless we are in TCOR 4. It is vital that we conduct ourselves the way we would in the face of a real typhoon. Practice saves lives."

Typhoon exercise Pakyo is being conducted in conjunction with many local government agencies in an effort to form a cohesive team and streamline emergency response processes.

"Any typhoon is going to impact the entire island," Major Murren said. "We need to be able to communicate our capabilities and needs to others. We are partners with all agencies and we value mission and life and strive to restore operations quickly and minimize injury as much as possible."

For questions concerning typhoon readiness, contact the Emergency Management Flight at 366-3113.