Lejeune community prepares for peak of hurricane season

18 Jul 2013 | Lance Cpl. Justin A. Rodriguez

Eastern North Carolina’s weather can change unexpectedly.

Preparing for damaging weather was the focus during Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Destructive Weather Exercise, July 15 through 18.

Hurricanes are a large threat to those in and around the base and the exercise simulated the response effort needed to mobilize and stage assets as well as conduct mock emergency and recovery operations.

“Our daily routines can be dramatically upset at any time by a wide variety of emergencies,” said John Reeve, the Director of Current Operations aboard base.

Marines and civilians from Marine Corps Installations East’s Headquarters and Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Division and Weapons Training Battalion participated in the exercise.

The exercise serves as a method to ensure the base’s readiness throughout disasters.

Hurricanes, tornados and storms have the ability to destroy homes and vehicles, so facilities aboard base, like Brewster Middle School, Tarawa Terrace II Elementary School and Lejeune High School, will provide shelter in the event of a destructive weather situation.

Throughout the Destructive Weather Exercise, emergency staff set up and manned a notional shelter at BMS.
During the simulation, tactical vehicles and personnel deployed from the Goettge Field House, the staging area, to assigned locations to execute various tasks like mustering and accounting for base gear.

“The drill directly involves a comparative few,” said Reeve. “We mobilize command posts to test communications, heavy equipment and emergency maintenance crews, fire and emergency teams, emergency shelters and emergency planners. When it’s all said and done, several hundreds of personnel will have been involved.”

The exercise is designed to prepare the base community for destructive weather while training the personnel who will man the Emergency Operations Center aboard base during emergencies.

The EOC is a centralized area where personnel can manage overall emergency measures through a web-enabled incident management system accessible anywhere with an internet connection.

“Each member of the base community should make their own individual preparations and accumulate their own individual emergency supplies,” said Reeve. “In the event of an emergency, like a hurricane, people should listen to and follow public warnings and exercise extreme caution in whatever they do.”

Base service members and civilians worked to keep the Emergency Operations Center running during the simulated exercise.

“Everyone was on the same page,” said Navy Lt. Kimberly Herm, the public works assistant officer for Headquarters and Support Battalion. “The Emergency Operations Center runs smoothly, and it needs to during a destructive weather situation.”

With hurricane season from June 1 to Nov. 30, it’s important to prepare for destructive weather at every level.
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