MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Tropical storm Ana, which passed through the Carolinas last week, marked an early beginning to destructive weather season along the Eastern Seaboard. To help prepare for the coming season, leaders from Cherry Point and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing conducted a destructive weather plan exercise here, May 14.
The purpose of the exercise was to ensure Cherry Point and 2nd MAW personnel are adequately trained and prepared to respond to destructive weather events – the official start of hurricane season is June 1.
The exercise focused on a scenario where essential personnel and response coordinators from directorates across the air station met in the Emergency Operations Center, reacting to circumstances that could occur during severe weather conditions.
According to Grant DeHaven, the mission assurance program manager, hurricanes are the number one destructive weather threat and concern for citizens of Eastern North Carolina, including Cherry Point and surrounding communities.
“It is important to make sure that station personnel and their families understand the installation’s procedures for when we have a hurricane and what steps to take if they are in a dangerous situation,” said DeHaven. “We have an alert system in place to send out notifications across the base. We want people to understand what could happen and how dangerous hurricanes are.”
An example of the dismay that hurricanes bring to North Carolina happened during the hurricane season of September 1999, Marine Transport Squadron 1 of Cherry Point, dispatched their three HH-46E Sea Knight helicopter which, operating simultaneously rescued 399 people who were trapped by Hurricane Floyd’s flood waters in surrounding communities.
DeHaven recommends that all service members, families and station personnel have a preparedness plan and rations kit to prepare for possible destructive weather.
In the event of an emergency or extreme weather conditions, air station personnel will receive an alert through a telephone alert system. Additionally, email warnings will be sent to all dot-mil users. The “Giant Voice” speaker system is set up at various locations across the air station to notify all additional air station personnel of imminent threats, including destructive weather.
“Hurricane season runs from June 1 – Nov. 30,” said DeHaven. “It is important to know that no matter if it is a category 1 hurricane, or a category 3 hurricane, it is extremely dangerous either way.”
Properly preparing for such an event has been made easy through the Cherry Point Facebook and Twitter pages and the Cherry Point Destructive Weather Brochure, available at http://www.cherrypoint.marines.mil/Portals/86/Docs/MissionAssurance/EMPublication4Web.pdf.