Military News

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Team Dover is StormReady

by Airman 1st Class Zachary Cacicia
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

8/4/2015 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- An Air Force installation, like any type of community, is vulnerable to natural disasters. While Travis AFB, California must prepare for earthquakes, and Offutt AFB, Nebraska must be ever vigilant for the threat that tornados pose; Dover AFB, like all bases along the East Coast must be ready to handle an onslaught of hurricanes and other severe weather.

To recognize Dover AFB's achievement of earning the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  StormReady certification, Greg Heavener, NOAA meteorologist, presented the base with a StormReady outdoor sign July 29, 2015, at Dover AFB, Delaware.

"On behalf of our agency and the Delaware State Advisory Board, I congratulate you, Dover Air Force Base, for becoming the 89th military installation in the country to become StormReady," said Heavener. "StormReady is a program where we are addressing the need for higher levels of community awareness in order to minimize the loss of life and property from episodes of extreme weather."

The StormReady certification applies to communities, counties, universities, military bases, commercial enterprises and other groups that are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness. Each year, Americans cope with an average of 100,000 thunderstorms, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods or flash floods, 1,000 tornadoes and 2 land-falling deadly hurricanes. Many of these directly affect Dover AFB, its mission and the lives of those who work and live on the base.

Dover AFB is only the 89th U.S. military installation to achieve this certification, a distinction that applies to only 1 percent of all military installations. This initiative to achieve this certification was spearheaded by 436th Civil Engineer Squadron's Readiness and Emergency Management Flight, more specifically the work of the flight's commander, Capt. Ronda Underwood, and Staff Sgt. Joseph Davis, 436th CES emergency manager.

"It was a four-part process," explained Underwood.

First off, the Readiness and Emergency Management Flight filled out an application that was sent forward to NOAA. From there, NOAA officials made a site visit to Dover AFB to evaluate the base's communications, processes and emergency management. Next, emergency management Airmen visited a NOAA weather service station in New Jersey to receive a better understanding of NOAA, the National Weather Service and their functions and process. Once these were complete, the application went up to the StormReady certification board. The members of this board voted and elected that Dover AFB is StormReady.

"The certification lets our off-base emergency management partners know when they see that sign, that we are prepared to handle storms," said Underwood. "And that our folks are educated, that we have plans in place."

The new StormReady sign is scheduled be installed near Dover AFB's main gate.

"The biggest thing is when you drive onto base, you know you're coming somewhere that has taken the time, taken the forethought, and that we've went ahead and prepared," said Davis.

No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives.

"What we do here is pretty darn important," said Col. Michael Grismer, 436th Airlift Wing commander. "We are putting ourselves in a window where we've got a very short runway and hurricane season is coming up. I want nothing better than the best chance to do our business, and to do it safely in the event of an East Coast hurricane."

Speaking on the new StormReady sign, Grismer said, "This is good advertising for everyone who comes on base, that we've got our head in the game."

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