2008 Hurricane readiness Guide
What Fightertown Marines need to know about hurricane season
LANCE CPL. RYAN L. YOUNG
THE JET STREAM EDITOR
With the 2008 Hurricane and Tropical Storm Season began June 1, it’s important for service members and their families to understand the seriousness of hurricane dangers and make proper preparations in case an evacuation of the area is necessary. Knowing what could happen and how to handle it could mean the difference between life and death during a major hurricane. Why we leave The area surrounding the Air Station and base housing is called the Lowcountry for a reason. The Tri-Command area is at a low elevation, barely above sea level, and is surrounded by areas of widespread marsh. With each new hurricane season comes the risk of rising sea levels that, even at the lowest hurricane category, will flood parts of the local military installations, according to Mark Hamilton, the assistant Air Station operations officer. As the strength of a hurricane increases, floodwaters raise engulfing roads making it extremely difficult to leave the area. Local military installations coordinate with the Beaufort County Emergency Management Division to determine if an evacuation is needed. If the decision is made to evacuate, base officials will determine the appropriate time for service members to evacuate with the approval of the commanding officer.
The Air Station does not have shelters to provide a safe area during a hurricane, Hamilton said. Leaving the area as soon as ordered is imperative to ensuring a service member’s safety. Getting the word When powerful storms come, such as a hurricane or tropical storm, the potential for damage to property and danger to people increases, said Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Parker, the destructive weather coordinator here. While leaving the area is important, finding a way to stay informed and be accounted for is a must. “Keeping an updated roster of Marines and knowing important numbers and Web sites is the best way to stay informed during a hurricane,” Hamilton said. Once a storm passes, a plan will be determined to restore basic services and notify service members about a return date, Hamilton explained. Return instructions will be available on the Marine Corps Air Station Destructive Weather Hotline. When service members get the word to come back, the base may not be able to provide basic needs for families depending on the severity of the damages. “We don’t want to have a refuge camp scenario in Laurel Bay or aboard the Air Station,” Hamilton said. “It’s not a good idea for family members to return if their residence is severely damaged and there is no power or water available.”
Have a plan There is a lot of information about hurricanes available to service members. “The more you know, the better prepared you will be,” Parker said. “Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out what you are going to do.” It is a good idea to research proper ways of protecting yourself against the dangers of hurricane season, Hamilton explained. Pay attention to the local news, stay informed through reliable sources and prepare a survival kit. “It is important to have a plan,” Hamilton said. “A short-term plan and a long-term plan in case the base suffers severe damage and cannot facilitate service members’ families.” Editor’s note: Information regarding hurricanes and tropical storms is available online at www.nhc.noaa.gov and at www.bcgov.net. Service members can also call the Tri-Command toll free hotline at 1-800-343-0639 to learn the installation’s current condition of readiness. For more information about current weather conditions and what they mean to you, call the Beaufort County Hotline at 1-800-963-5023 or the MCAS Destructive Weather Hotline at 1-800343-0639. If any questions regarding hurricane season cannot be answered with one of the listed sources, contact Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Parker at 228-7927 or 228-7904.
Important Information Sources
In the event of a hurricane, MCAS Beaufort and MCRD Parris Island personnel can obtain hurricane information by one or all of the following methods: Tri-Command Toll-Free Hotline 1-800-343-0639 https://www.beaufort.usmc.mil (Click on the weather link) Beaufort County Hotline 1-800-963-5023 Monitor local radio and television stations and the Commander’s Channel (base housing only)
2008 Hurricane readiness Guide
What Parris Island Marines need to know
Marines should think of what they would need in the event of an evacuation, Bluntzer said. Items such as clothes, food, water, medical supplies, baby items, as well as sentimental items like pictures, should be added to the survival kit. They also need to consider their pets’ needs, as it is illegal to leave them behind. “It is as simple as putting together an emergency kit with all the necessary items,” Simpson said. “Preparing ahead of time makes it much less stressful.” “Parents need to have a family care plan as well,” Simpson said. “This is a plan of action for children in writing on where the child goes; it also gives the caregiver the special power of attorney,” she added. “It is just one way to make sure your child is taken care of in the event something happens.” After evacuation, personnel should call the TriCommand number at 1-800-343-0639 to find information on when to return.
PFC. DANIEL A. BLATTER
THE BOOT STAFF
Marines can replace clothes, new electronics and household goods, but families are irreplaceable. Hurricane season is upon us, and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Marines need to know the evacuation plans and be prepared if a hurricane strikes. “It all starts by making a plan and having the whole family know their part in the case of an evacuation,” said Capt. Samuel P. Bluntzer, the operations officer for Headquarters and Service Battalion. Marines should sit down with their families and discuss in detail what to do, Bluntzer said. “It is also important to make sure your vehicle is in good, working condition and full of gas at all times,” added Capt. John Conrad, the Depot’s assistant operations chief. In the event the Commanding General issues an evacuation, all nonessential personnel and their families will evacuate. However, others will have tasks to complete before leaving. Some are scheduled to leave late and return early, while others are responsible for bussing recruits to safe locations. The Depot commands will notify all personnel of what their specific roles will be in case of an evacuation. However, it is up to the individual Marines to know their responsibilities. For temporary evacuation, recruits will be taken to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany,
Ga., Conrad said. However, if the Depot sustains too much damage to continue training, normal operations will continue at Fort A. P. Hill, Va. An evacuation can be called when a category three or higher hurricane is within 40 hours from making landfall. The Depot only plans to evacuate if winds are greater than 111 mph and are accompanied by nine-foot or higher storm surges. Marines are encouraged to fill out a unit family contact sheet so their commands will be informed of their whereabouts, said Deanna Simpson, the Marine Corps Family Team Building director. For emergency reasons, it is helpful for commands to have a roster of where families will be going and how to contact them once they are there. Marines should not only plan what they will do, but they should also organize the things they will need in a hurricane survival kit, such as first aid supplies, canned goods with a can opener, flashlight, batteries and water.
MCRD Hurricane Conditions
Condition 4: The path of the hurricane has been reasonably well established. Possible threat of winds of destructive force. Hurricane may hit within 72 hours. Depot prepares for evacuation. Condition 3: The hurricane continues to advance. Destructive force winds are possible within 48 hours. Depot prepares for possible evacuation pending the Commanding General’s order. Busses are ordered for recruit evacuation. Condition 2: Winds of destructive force. Hurricane is anticipated within 24 hours. Depot will be locked down. Condition 1: Winds of destructive force. Hurricane is imminent or expected within 12 hours. Also applies when storm is in progress. Depot will be locked down as recruits will be at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga.
Tri-Command prepares for hurricane season 2008
LANCE CPL. JON HOLMES
THE BOOT ASSISTANT PRESS CHIEF
Hurricane season is here and TriCommand Communities is making sure residents know what to do if a storm hits home. Residents need to know how to prepare for a hurricane, what to do when it hits and what to do when they return to the Lowcountry area.
The first thing residents should do is prepare their homes for the hurricane, said Kristin Miller, the marketing manager for TCC. All new homes have hurricane panels in their garages or storage areas to place over their windows. Residents living in older, brick-syle housing, such as the housing on Naval Hospital Beaufort, do not have hurricane panels, said B. J. Cozart, the director of property management for TCC.
For brick-style houses, residents are encouraged to tape the inside of their windows in a star shape, to prevent shattered, flying glass, and move their valubles to the highest level. It takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes for a person to put the panels over the windows. Miller suggests getting a neighbor’s help to cut that time in half. “We encourage people to find a neighbor and practice putting up the panels,”
Miller said. “That way they are confident in doing it and know how.” Residents who can’t find help, and are unable to put up their panels alone, can simply call maintenance. A crew will come over and assist in preparing their home. In addition, residents are also encouraged to take unsecured items inside the
TRI-COMMAND, PAGE 5
2008 Hurricane readiness Guide
Where to go, what to do should a hurricane hit the Lowcountry area
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
Understanding evacuation routes
The Beaufort area will be evacuated exclusively along U.S. 21 to U.S. 17. Approaching the U.S. 17 intersection in Gardens Corner, the left lane of U.S. 21 will have access to U.S. 17 South and will be directed to Exit 33 where motorists will be directed to use the right lane to access I-95 North and the left lane for I-95 South. The right lane will follow U.S. 17 North to Highway 303 toward Walterboro. Motorists wishing to travel toward the Hampton or Augusta area may turn right off U.S. 17 at Pocataligo onto U.S. 21 North to Yemassee and SC 68 West.
2008 Hurricane readiness Guide
Hurricane and tropical storm tracking chart
continued from page 3
house. Items such as bird baths, swings and toys could become dangerous objects in a hurricane’s wind. “Swings or outside objects could become a hazard during the storm,” Miller said. “It’s better to just take them inside.” In addition to preparing physically for hurricanes, residents are also encour-
aged to look at their insurance coverage. “The basic insurance only covers named storms,” said David Hausch, a representative for Great American Insurance. “For named storms, the deductible is $2,000, so people may want additional insurance.” Regardless of how prepared someone is to leave their home, when the order to evacuate is given, it is time to go. The area will become increasingly dangerous as the storm approaches and military police will also start removing
people from installation properties. Tri-Command is working very closely with the commands, Cozart explained. The commands will be updating TCC on evacuation and when it is safe to return. “Once the command allows us to return, we will send out an assessment team to see if the houses are still inhabitable,” Cozart said. “If there is partial damage to housing, we will provide additional housing if possible. If not, we will terminate the lease.”
If a lease is terminated, TCC will provide a list of availble housing in the area to assit residents in finding a new home. Residents will recieve their monthy Basic Allowance for Housing as soon as the lease is terminated and will be recieveing lodging pay until they have a new address. If ordered to evacuate, residents can check the Tri-Command Web site at www.tricommandcommunities.com for more information about returning or the status of housing.
2008 Hurricane readiness Guide
Orders and pay - Before, during and after a hurricane
ORDER AND ORDERS ANSWERED
NMCRS AND RED CROSS ASSISTANCE
READY FOR SERVICE MEMBERS
COMMON HURRICANE QUESTIONS ABOUT
CPL. JENN EAGELMAN
THE JET STREAM STAFF
COMPILED BY CPL. JAMES M. MERCURE
Q. Who may issue evacuation orders? A. The commander of a U.S. Installation or designated representative is responsible for authorizing or ordering an evacuation or limited evacuation of the dependents of uniformed service personnel and employees of a DoD component. Q. Will I be issued orders? A. Yes, however, if time does not permit a written order, the order may be issued as verbal orders and then confirmed in writing at the earliest practical time. Q. Is there a specific evacuation location? A. The official authorizing/ordering the evacuation may specify a limited evacuation location, any safe haven location within a determined distance from evacuated area or any continental U. S. safe haven location. Q. What if I decide to go beyond the designated evacuation location? A. Service members, dependents and civilian employees traveling outside that area will only be reimbursed up to the rate for the area outlined in the evacuation order. Q. What do I rate when I evacuate? A. Lodging, meals, and incidental rates (M&IE) - based on either the safe haven or the distance radius outlined in the evacuation order. Service members - must be on Evacuation orders. Authorized full entitlements in accordance with the Joint Federal Travel Regulations. Service members' dependents – For the first 30 days - age 12 and over rate full M&IE while under 12 rate 50 percent of M&IE. Beginning the 31 day, entitlement drops to 60 percent of M&IE for 12 and over, and 30 percent of M&IE for under 12. Appropriated funds employees and their dependents’ entitlements authorized in accordance with joint travel regulations. Q. If transportation is my privately owned vehicle (POV) do I get any reimbursement? A. Yes, $.505 per mile. Only one POV will be approved and review of requests for more than one will be determined on a case-by-case basis determined by the commanding officer. Q. If I decide to rent a car, do I get reimbursed? A. Rental vehicle and fuel may be authorized at discretion of the Commanding Officer only. Q. How do I settle my claim? A. Evacuation of short duration, assuming no significant damage to base, set up claims settlement center office (DTS office) service members, civilian employees and dependents must bring receipts and prepare paperwork to settle claims. Claims will be reviewed and submitted to the regionalized disbursing office at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Hurricane disaster preparedness guides and commercials inform everyone what to expect, what to have in their kits and how much money to have set aside in case of the worst. “Living in a coastal state means having a plan for each and every hurricane season,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator. “Review or complete emergency plans now - before a storm threatens. Planning and preparation is the key to storm survival and recovery.” Even the most prepared individual may run into serious problems before, during or after a storm. This is where support services like the American Red Cross and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society come into the picture. The NMCRS can provide funds to help service members not only evacuate themselves and their families, but to also pay for any food or lodging that they may not have the means to cover during the duration of the evacuation. Once an installation’s commander has ordered an evacuation, funds open up to that specific NMCRS chapter to be funneled out to those who need it in the form of interest-free loans. A payment is set up according to the income of the applicant. It is required for active duty and retired service members to set up a backup allotment in case they do not return to file a budget. The American Red Cross has been a part of disaster relief services since 1905 when they were chartered by Congress to "carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same." Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people's immediate emergency disaster-caused needs, according to their Web site. In the event of a hurricane or any other disaster, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and mental health services. “We are here for everyone,” said Debbie Szpanka, the executive director of the Palmetto Chapter of the American Red Cross. “During a hurricane our primary focus is to open and operate shelters. We also have the capabilities to send out emergency messages to deployed service members in the event of an emergency such as death, illness or birth, that can help bring that individual home.” The Red Cross also feeds emergency workers, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, provides blood and blood products to disaster victims, and helps those affected by disaster to access other available resources, according to their Web site. Hurricanes are a reality of life when living in the Lowcountry. Though it is best to prepare for one as much as possible, there are support systems in place to help guide service members and their families through the hardships that may wash up on shore with the storm.
2008 Hurricane readiness Guide
Navy-Marine Corps Relief society offers financial help to Marine Corps Recruit Depot families
LANCE CPL. MICHAEL S. DARNELL
THE BOOT STAFF
Hurricanes are a fact of life in the Lowcountry area. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd raked across the coastline, causing millions of dollars in damage to the Eastern seaboard and the evacuation of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. Since then Parris Island has had a few hurricane scares but no actual storm. With the high rate of personnel turnaround on the Depot, many of the people here have never experienced a hurricane. To some who have not weathered a hurricane, getting prepared for one can be a daunting task. According to Ron Grindle, director of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, planning for the financial pitfalls associated with a natural disaster is the hardest part of putting together an evacuation plan. “No matter how many briefs service members attend, no matter how much information NMCRS provides, they never seem prepared,” Grindle said. “Our role is to help.” The NMCRS exists to assist service members in times of financial crisis. In case of a hurricane evacuation, they can provide the means for service members and their families to reach safety. Once the commanding general makes a determination that a hurricane is imminent, he can release funds through the NMCRS, Grindle said. Once that has been done, they can provide small loans to service members who need it. For a single service member, NMCRS can provide a $300 loan. For service members with dependents, the loan amount increases to $500. Grindle said the determination for the amount of money loaned to the service member is made by NMCRS. He also said people borrowing the money do not have to take the full amount. “If they already have some money set aside, but feel that they need an extra $100, then we can loan out that amount,” said Grindle. “What the NMCRS is prepared to do is to provide a no-interest loan,” Grindle said. “The beauty of it is that it doesn’t cause any extra cost to the service members.”
Service members who take out the loan will be given a two-month grace period to pay the loan off. If they do not pay it back within that time period, the money will be taken out of the service members pay over a three-month span. During this time there are no added interest fees or charges, Grindle stressed. The NMCRS is an avenue for service members who may not have the money available to evacuate safely. Of course, other methods exist for service members to prepare financially for an evacuation. Lance Cpl. Stacey Chambers has begun planning for her and her family’s safety in case of an emergency. She said they have a plan ready, just in case. “We have an allotment set up,” Chambers said. Service members can set up an allotment online through the MyPay Web site. This way,
each pay period a small amount of money can be transferred into a savings account that will be ready to use in case of an emergency. B. J. Cozart, the director of property management for the Tri-Command Communities said one form of emergency funds should not be relied upon in case of a hurricane. “I will always suggest that people have cash on them,” Cozart said. “It’s very hard to use a credit card when there is no power.” Hurricanes are different than tornadoes or other flash emergencies in that there is usually a warning before they can strike. Proper planning for a hurricane in the Lowcountry area isn’t just a good idea, it’s imperative, added Grindle. “People plan for life’s little emergencies,” he concluded. “Well, this is a big one. You need a plan.”
Hurricane Katrina ...
Sgt. Tracee L. Jackson
Marines from 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment assist Catherine Nishalson out of their Assault Amphibian Vehicle Sept. 6, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
2008 Hurricane readiness Guide
Courtesy of NOAA