by 2nd Lt. Alexis McGee and Airman Sean Crowe
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs
10/26/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST -- Joint
Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst units began gearing up for the potential
arrival of Hurricane Sandy with an Emergency Operations Center stand-up
Oct. 26 here.
The representatives collaborated to determine the precautions base
officials must take to prepare the installation for the approaching
tropical wind system.
Tracking the storm and providing updates to joint base leadership and
key personnel has been one of the 305th Operations Support Squadron
weather flight's primary duties throughout the last few days.
"The large, long-lasting storm is expected to yield heavy rain and high
winds," said Staff Sgt. Thomas Cothron, 305th OSS weather forecaster.
The weather flight is not the only unit at JB MDL Hurricane Sandy promises to keep busy.
The EOC is the command and control section for the joint base. The
center is responsible for coordinating activities and efforts for this
crisis and educating our planners on the hurricane's potential to impact
the joint base, said Steve Robertson, JB MDL Emergency Management
Office flight chief.
Unit representatives presented hurricane preparedness concepts, many
mentioned lessons learned from last year's hurricane and how they were
incorporating the lessons learned into planning for Hurricane Sandy.
Joint base planners left nothing on the table, even discussing how best
to secure static displays, which include aircraft and Humvees, while the
87th Security Forces Squadron prepared to have individuals ready to
respond when called upon.
Once EOC personnel determine requirements, the representatives go back
to their units and begin executing hurricane preparations, Robertson
Airmen with the 87th Civil Engineer Squadron were dispatched to clean
storm drains, place sandbags and drive sweeping trucks through the
streets of JB MDL to remove debris from the curbs and gutters.
A key concern for the emergency management team is the safety of service
members and their families and the joint base's ability to disseminate
information and preparedness tips to the base populous.
'Effective communication during an emergency situation is critical to
our success and ability to minimize the storm's impact,' said Robertson.
'Our Joint Base Public Affairs team is postured and ready to inform the
joint base community with key information and tips on how to prepare
for Hurricane Sandy.'
Preparedness tips include setting freezers and refrigerators to the
coldest temperature, securing any outdoor objects that could become
flying debris in the hurricane, avoiding driving through flooded areas
and preparing battery-powered flashlights and radios.
'Families should have a communication plan set up in case they are
separated from one another," said Robertson. "Families should also know
where to meet loved ones after the storm and who they can call outside
Robertson also mentioned that texting may be a viable communication
option during and after the storm since texting capabilities are
sometimes available when phone calls may not be.
Pre-storm concerns were not the only issues discussed during initial
planning for Hurricane Sandy. Officials also brought up post-storm
advice, encouraging the JB MDL community to use caution when driving due
to the number of fallen limbs and trees that may be present after the