NEWS | Sept. 30, 2013

EM is there in times of emergencies

By Steven Gottula 628th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency manager

The Joint Base Charleston Emergency Management Office has a huge job. Keeping an installation the size of JB Charleston ready in case of an emergency requires military and civilians working together 24-7, to keep the installation prepared to respond to the hazards that could affect the mission and personnel who work, reside and play on the joint base.

Base EM personnel accomplish this task every day by writing plans, checklists, staffing the Emergency Operations Center and conducting briefings and training. The Installation Emergency Management Plan 10-2, IEMP 10-2, is an all hazards plan that covers aircraft crashes, hazardous material incidents, natural disasters, terrorists' use of chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear devices and active shooters. Exercises with base units and civilian agencies are conducted to ensure the effectiveness of 10-2. Though most EM personnel work behind the scenes ensuring the safety of our unique community, one place you have probably seen us is during newcomer's orientation. This briefing informs personnel of the natural disasters and other hazards that could have impact our joint base mission and ways to prepare for them.

When disaster strikes, don't assume one of the many federal agencies will immediately come to your rescue. Response to past events has shown it takes some time for these agencies to arrive, set up and distribute aid. Prudence dictates that you have a disaster kit with enough supplies to get you through the first seven to 10 days after a disaster. Here is a list of items that should be in your disaster kit:

· Water, one gallon per person per day for three days
· Three day supply of non-perishable food
· Battery operated radio and NOAA Weather radio with tone alert
· Flashlight and batteries
· First aid kit
· Whistle
· Dust masks
· Moist towelettes and garbage bags
· Prescription medications
· Infant formula and diapers
· Pet food and extra water for pets
· Important documents ie. insurance paperwork

For a more inclusive disaster kit list go to http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit. Your JB Charleston EM office has a natural disaster guide free for the asking and contains many suggestions on how you can be ready to weather any disaster.

Having a disaster kit is a great thing, but it will not help you if the items are not rotated as food expires and children grow out of their clothes. Your kit will not be of use if you do not have a plan on how or when to use it. Your family disaster plan does not have to be elaborate, but it should be written down in an easy to read and understand format for all family members. And don't forget to add your pets to the process. Their food, water and shelter needs must be considered so they don't take away from your family kit.

To learn more about disaster plans contact the Joint Base Emergency Management office at 963-5333 on the Air Base or 794-7652 on the Weapons Station or go to www.ready.gov.