Story by Andrew Damstedt on 04/23/2018To prepare for hurricane season, Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) is participating in an annual exercise to test the installation's readiness should the base be affected by a hurricane.
This year's hypothetical hurricane, named "Cora," will make landfall in Norfolk, Virginia, the eye of the storm will pass over Naval District Washington, continue tracking up the eastern seaboard and move out to the Atlantic Ocean after passing through New Hampshire. HURREX/Citadel Gale 2018 goes from 30 April to May 11.
NSAB will prepare for the hurricane the same as if an actual hurricane was predicted to hit the installation.
"HURREX is preparation for the hurricane season, June through November," said Les Hiatt, NSAB Interim Emergency Manager. "It helps prepare us for any upcoming hurricanes that might move into our area by exercising and validating hurricane preparedness and the restorations of plans prior to the onset of hurricane season."
The installation will respond as if there were heavy flooding in some areas.
That means the Emergency Operations Center will be activated and the Everbridge and Giant Voice system and other mass notification systems will be tested. Each tenant command has a checklist to make sure they know NSAB's Destructive Weather Plan and their responsibilities during such an event.
A simulation mobilizing the Emergency Family Assistance Center (EFAC) also will take place on one day during the two week period. The EFAC helps make ensure the military community has their needs taken care after an emergency.
HURREX/Citadel Gale 2018 coincides with Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 6-12, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration use to promote readiness for tropical storms and hurricanes. There are daily tips found online at www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness, such as how to develop an evacuation plan, assembling disaster supplies and writing a hurricane plan.
Hiatt said it's a good idea for people to go over their disaster supplies kit, which includes bottled water, a three-to-five day supply of non-perishable food, first aid kit, cash, and any important documents.
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is now among the top 10 all-time most active seasons on record, thanks to a chaotic stretch of prolonged, damaging hurricanes from mid-August through September. This year's 2018 hurricane forecast is anticipated to have slightly above average activity with 14 named storms with up to seven to becoming hurricanes and three becoming major hurricanes, according to Colorado State University's hurricane season forecast. An average season for the Atlantic is 12 named storms.
"Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted," the CSU report states.
After a disaster, the Navy and Marine Corps use the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) to determine the condition of Navy and Marine service members and their families and employees of Navy installations and their families. NFAAS is accessible online at navyfamily.navy.mil.
Other armed forces personnel accountability systems can be found online at Army, adpaas.army.mil/cas/login; Air Force, afpaas.af.mil/cas/login; Coast Guard, cgpaas.uscg.mil/cas/login. More resources can be found at www.ready.navy.mil.
For more information on creating a kit, visit www.ready.gov/hurricane-toolkit or www.ready.navy.mil.