Essential personnel keep Cherry Point operational

28 Feb 2014 | Lance Cpl. Grace Waladkewics

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point essential personnel are Marines, sailors and civilian workers who report to work during all weather conditions.

Essential personnel report for duty during inclement weather to ensure station necessities like utilities, emergency services and food services remain available for air station personnel and residents.

Designated workers from the Mission Assurance branch stand watch in the station's Emergency Operations Center, maintaining contact with the essential personnel on duty and local agencies monitoring on and off base conditions.

"The Emergency Operations Center is the coordination hub during an emergency situation," said Grant DeHaven, program manager for Mission Assurance. "The EOC provides support to all departments that remain operational during an emergency."

Security and Emergency Services work alongside facilities maintenance to ensure all utilities are functioning, roads, parking lots and runways are cleared, and emergency personnel can be contacted and easily navigate the station when needed.

From the EOC, the Crisis Action Team maintains contact with installation services and talks to outside agencies, like the National Weather Service and county emergency services, to plan an appropriate course of action, said DeHaven.

Cherry Point has a memorandum of agreement with community agencies, like police and emergency services, to assist and support each other during emergencies.

The Meteorology and Oceanography Center remains open 24-hours a day to update station employees of current and upcoming weather conditions and to respond to further weather developments.

"It is important to ensure base operations are functioning even when some missions temporarily stop operating," said DeHaven. "Our mission is to restore operations as quickly as possible and, in the mean time, maintain crucial things like utilities and emergency services."

While Marine Corps Community Service employees remain at work on a case-by-case basis to operate restaurants and other station facilities, like convenience stores and gyms, Marine supply staff members are vital because they must maintain dining facilities.

"It is important that designated emergency service personnel step up and continue to work because, in addition to the normal calls for help, potentially more hazardous situations may arise under emergency conditions," said Master Gunnery Sgt. John D. Wade, the provost sergeant with the Provost Marshall's Office. "Under emergency conditions, all emergency service workers maintain their primary goal of ensuring the safety of base residents."

Air station police still patrol the roads during emergency weather conditions, said Wade. However, the primary focus becomes reducing the risk of damage and injury to station residents.

 "Station personnel are more than willing to help surrounding areas should a situation arise," said Wade.

It is essential for the station and community to support each other especially during an emergency, according to Wade.

"It is amazing to see all the sections and the county emergency services work together to capture what is going to happen and bring the station to a full working status as quickly as possible," said DeHaven.
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point