With hurricanes wreaking havoc across Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, and the recent observance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the guest speakers at the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s National Preparedness Month event Sept. 12 didn’t have to convince the audience of the importance of being prepared for an emergency.
“It is our duty and opportunity to make sure we’re ready for disasters here on base and at home,” said Victor De Jesus, an emergency management specialist with DLA Troop Support who served as the event’s master of ceremonies. “Recent natural disasters have shown us, devastation does not discriminate, and it’s up to us to be prepared.”
DLA Troop Support employees, as well as employees from other tenant organizations on Naval Support Activity Philadelphia, learned how to prepare for an emergency that could occur on the base.
Sam Phillips, the emergency management officer for NSA Philadelphia, spoke about the top five hazards on the installation: severe winter weather, acts of terrorism, off-base hazmat accidents, active shooters and fires.
Phillips encouraged employees to use the base wide-area alert network, AtHoc, to receive emergency notifications related to incidents that occur on NSA-Philadelphia.
The event also included a presentation from Team Rubicon, a non-profit organization that provides disaster-relief services. Team Rubicon leverages the experience of thousands military veterans and other volunteers while providing them an opportunity to apply their skills with a sense of purpose and mission that is similar to a military setting.
Representatives from the Civil Air Patrol were also on-hand for the event. CAP is the official auxiliary of the Air Force. CAP provides nation-wide emergency and disaster assistance services, aerospace education programs and youth cadet programs.
“We are the Air Force auxiliary, but every single one of our members are volunteers with normal lives and normal jobs,” said Cadet Lt. Col. Matthew Chirik, a member of Group 3 of the Pennsylvania Wing.
Chirik said that emergency preparedness isn’t just for the workplace and at home. It also applies to outdoor recreation, especially in Pennsylvania’s vast woodland areas.
One of CAP’s specialties is performing search and rescue missions for missing hikers.
“The key thing if you are going hiking is to be prepared, not only equipment-wise, but knowledge-wise,” he said. “The first thing I tell someone before a long hike is to know where you are going, and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.”
The representatives from CAP and Team Rubicon said their respective organizations are always looking for new service-oriented volunteers. More information could be found at www.gocivilairpatrol.com and https://teamrubiconusa.org.
While the event covered several highlights of emergency preparedness, Phillips suggested employees visit www.ready.gov and www.ready.navy.mil for more information.