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Typhoon prepardness: Are you prepared?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Joe Hayslett
  • 36th Wing Safety chief
Hafa Adai, this week has refreshed our memories to the never- ending possibility of encountering typhoons and the potential for damage they bring. Although we only had some outdoor items thrown around and large amounts of organic refuse to pick up, one can easily make the leap to how a full-blown typhoon could affect our small island and base. 

Tropical storms in this part of the world form quickly and build in intensity at a rapid pace. Our location is conducive to storm production, and while I have yet to experience a full blown typhoon on Guam, I experienced many while living in Okinawa several years ago. 
Typhoons are unpredictable and can change course rapidly. Their intensity is deceiving to anyone never having experienced 100-plus mile per hour wind and rain for nearly 16 straight hours or viewed the tidal surge of 25-foot plus waves as they crash the shoreline. 

Typhoons should not be taken lightly, and once a storm is identified, precautions should immediately be taken even if the storm is hours or days away. Once potential typhoons are identified, immediately begin to consider your ability to remove and store outside furniture, equipment and children's toys. Although you may think you have lots of time when a storm is announced, the reality is with a storm such as "Man-Yi" it could have turned towards our island and left us with only hours to prepare.

We are officially in Guam's Typhoon season and everyone must begin taking precautions. Some immediate safety precautions to take before a typhoon arrives are:

    Ensure your typhoon locker is stocked with food
    Stock plenty of bottled water, enough for one week minimum
    If you have a small child, purchase formula or powered milk
    Verify your generator is in proper working condition
    Learn proper procedures to service, close and lock your shutters
    Have extra batteries for flashlights and lantern when the power goes out
    Maintain a small toolbox with a variety of hand tools to help with repairs

Do not wait until the last minute or when a storm is identified to stock these items as supplies are limited on Guam. 

More information on how to prepare for typhoons can be found through our Airman and Family Readiness Center (366-8136), your Unit Safety Representative, Wing Ground Safety Manager (366-SAFE), and CE Readiness (366-4298). 

Finally, when a storm is identified Channel 70 (on-base residents) will ensure the current TCOR stage is displayed with associated information to help you prepare. "Thanks for your service" and remember Safety is Paramount!

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