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Published:April 7th, 2007 06:33 EST
CNIC Prepares for Upcoming Hurricane Season

CNIC Prepares for Upcoming Hurricane Season

By SOP newswire

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Hurricane Season, which begins on June 1 and runs until Nov. 30, is once again approaching and the need for accountability and safety of personnel is a Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) top priority.

CNIC has joined together with Fleet Forces Command (FFC) in Norfolk to participate in Hurricane Exercise 07 (HURREX 07).

“HURREX 07 is a full-spectrum event flexing our installation and family disaster preparedness," said Capt. Ray Pietrzak, CNIC disaster preparedness officer. "[We will be] testing personnel accountability from Texas to Maine -- and all states and installations in between -- and exposing as many individuals as possible to the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System."

Pietrzak further stressed that commands need to stay alert to Naval Administration (NAVADMIN) messages and related e-mails pertaining to the exercise, which is divided into two parts.

The first part, the tracking and warning phase, will be conducted from April 23 through May 4. The second phase, requiring personnel accountability and family assessment, will be conducted April 23 through May 9.

The HURREX phases will consist of four artificially constructed tropical systems that will develop and intensify to hurricane strength, threatening the Caribbean, East Coast and Gulf Coast regions.

“There will be several instances for the requirement to muster and account for all Navy family members in the declared affected areas as three simulated hurricanes will be generated and move through the entire Eastern Seaboard,” said Pietrzak.

The objective of HURREX 07 is to provide, “a focused training event to afloat and shore-based commands with hurricane threat scenarios for use in exercising sortie, evacuation, emergency preparedness, personnel accountability, and recovery and consequence management procedures,” according to an FFC directive announcing the exercise.

“Geographic areas of interest (GAOI’s) will be established based on exercise storm tracks. As the storms threaten installations, at various times there will be multiple GAOI’s established, installation commanding officers will be required to set conditions of readiness in their geographic area and all commands will be required to confirm status and whereabouts of their personnel for each area separately,” said Pietrzak.

As the exercise storms approach each geographic area, a NAVADMIN will be released with an order to account for personnel, based on the GAOI, and will designate a start time for personnel accountability and family assessment procedures. Each GAOI will be available in the electronic muster tool at the start time listed for 72 hours, or three working days.

A goal of 100 percent accountability for all assigned personnel in a declared affected area is CNIC’s overall expectation, according to Pietrzak.

CNIC hosted an Emergency Preparedness/Personnel Accountability Conference on April 4 and 5 to announce the systems, preparation and processes in place for the upcoming hurricane season.

“The Disaster Preparedness/Personnel Accountability Conference will bring [together] emergency managers and personnel accountability representatives from Navy regions, installations, and other supported and supporting commands to obtain the latest information and guidance with regard to Navy family readiness topics," said Pietrzak prior to the conference. "We all must be ready to act and respond smartly.”

CNIC is preparing a new Navywide public awareness campaign titled “Operation Prepare.”

“CNIC is launching a public awareness campaign this spring to encourage individual and family preparedness for all types of natural and man-made emergencies. Staying informed, developing a plan, and making an emergency kit is the theme of this initiative, so that all personnel will be prepared to respond in the event of an emergency," said Pietrzak. "Information packets will be strategically located at Personnel Support Detachments, Commissaries, Base Housing Offices, and Fleet and Family Service Centers.”

There are three main themes to remember for family emergency preparedness, added Pietrzak. “Be informed, have a plan and make a kit.”

By Ed Wright, Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs