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News | July 25, 2017

Emergency exercise keeps installation prepared, ready to support the warfighter during hurricanes, other disasters

By Amy T. Clement DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

A hurricane emergency tabletop exercise took place July 20 on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.

Defense Logistics Agency Installation Support at Richmond and DLA Aviation personnel who make up the Emergency Management and Crisis Management Teams participated in the training event, which included representatives from DLA Aviation Public Affairs, Command Programs and Command and Control Center, as well as DLA Installation Support at Richmond personnel from Security and Emergency Services, Installation Management and the Safety and Environmental Offices.

“We held the exercise to bring all of the key personnel who would work together to secure the base, perform emergency communications, respond to cleanup efforts and make sure our aviation support continued to our warfighters prior to, during and after a hurricane,” said William Bullock, Sr.

“We discussed our preparations, response, mitigation and recovery operations and action plans that would take place in the event of a hurricane. All of the emergency management team members train throughout the year and know their roles for responding to crisis in many scenarios,” Bullock said. “However it’s good to bring everyone in on a regular basis to review processes and emergency operations procedures, brainstorm, and make changes if needed to be more effective and efficient. It’s preparing to be prepared.”

Bullock said in the event of a hurricane, Defense Supply Center Richmond could experience damages including flooding and damaged caused by downed trees or other debris across certain areas of the installation.

In emergency events, not only do security and emergency services have to secure the base and make sure it is cleaned up, but  DLA Aviation also has to execute contingency plans to ensure logistics continue to so our aviation warfighters get the parts they need to execute their missions.

Many standard operating procedures and plans are put in place, and must be reviewed and practiced often in order to stay prepared.

Not only do Emergency and Crisis Management Team members prepare, but all employees on the post also participate in emergency drills and exercises throughout the year, and have various safety and preparedness training monthly through the online Learning Management System, Bullock said.

In the event the base has to close for an extended time after an emergency event, like a hurricane where flooding and damage might cause the base to close for an extended period of time, a Continuity of Operations Plan, more commonly known as a COOP Plan, would be activated.

A COOP Plan is an organizations strategy and plan to ensure essential mission functions continue during a wide range of emergencies including natural disasters, accidents, attacks or any other incident that would majorly disrupt the base’s operating status.

With technology, many employees are able to telework during or after an emergency, said Maurice Sanabria, chief, DLA Aviation Command Programs Office and COOP program manager. “If the installation had to close for an extended period of time because of an emergency, our COOP Plan includes measures where mission essential personnel could relocate at an alternate DLA location to conduct mission essential functions,” he said.

Bullock said overall the exercise went extremely well. “Part of mission readiness is to continually practice and stay prepared for emergencies,” said Bullock. “This type of training allows us to review our processes, troubleshoot any concerns, brainstorm, practice and update our emergency plans if needed.”