“In the Southeast regions of the United States, it is not a question of ‘if’ a hurricane will strike, but ‘when.’ Having a plan and preparing for a hurricane are the keys to survival before, during and after the storm – be informed, have a plan and build a kit.”
~Vice Adm. Bill French, Commander, Navy Installations Command
Hurricane season is from June 1- Nov. 30 and largely affects the southeastern U.S., from the Gulf Coast along the entire eastern seaboard. The Navy held its annual hurricane exercise, Citadel Gale, in April to prepare for hurricane season. The purpose of the exercise is to organize response capability for severe weather threats and maintain the ability to deploy forces in the most adverse weather conditions. Ensuring the fleet is ready to respond to extreme weather is a major priority, however, it is imperative that Sailors and their families prepare before a hurricane makes landfall.
The Navy sortied 40 ships from Norfolk during Hurricane Isabel (2003).
Hurricane Irene (2011) forced 27 ships to depart Norfolk, while another 28 ships were sent to a safe haven.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,200 people and more than $100 billion in damage, while also delaying shipbuilding, costing the Navy more than $2 billion.
How You Can Be Ready
- Be Informed: Hurricanes, unlike other disasters, usually have a lead time. Keep track of the projected path of the storm andfollow any direction provided by local authorities and command and installation leadership.
- Have a Plan: A written plan ensures everyone understands what actions to take in the event of an evacuation. Account for special concerns such as caring for very young and old family members, protecting your property, retaining critical financial and insurance records and caring for pets. Create a communication plan that instructs eachmember of the family on who to call and how to communicate in case of an emergency.
- Build a Kit: Build an emergency kit with enough supplies for each person in your household to last for three days. Examples of supplies include: water, nonperishable food, a first aid kit and prescription medications. Include additional supplies to meet the needs of any children, pets or special-needs family members.
- In order to ensure all service members are ready for potential disaster, the Chief of Naval Operations has mandated all Navy personnel enroll in the Defense Travel System (DTS) website, obtain a Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC), regularly update their Navy Family Accountability & Assessment System (NFAAS) account and update their Total Workforce Management System (TWMS) self-service account. Maintaining current profiles in each of these tools will allow for smoother evacuations and monetary claims during and after a storm.
- NFAAS is a critical web-based tool the Navy uses to account for, assess, manage and monitor the recovery process of Sailorsand their families. NFAAS was created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and grew in importance after the flooding in Millington, Tenn., where it proved essential in helping to account for Navy personnel and their family members during and after the flood. Log into NFAAS following a weather emergency to report your status and request assistance such as help with temporary housing, transportation, financial and medical assistance, child care, legal advice, chaplain services and counseling.