News | Sept. 6, 2017

Preparedness: more than just a month-long effort

By Dianne Ryder

Preparedness is a year-round activity, but September is designated as National Preparedness Month. Across the enterprise, the Defense Logistics Agency has several related activities planned.

Michael Wood, DLA’s emergency management program manager in the DLA Installation Support Office, provides policy and guidance for all hazard emergency management at DLA installations and hosted facilities. Policy covers four areas of emergency management: planning, preparedness, response and recovery.

“We focus on preparation of individuals and organizations so that when a disaster occurs, the mission can continue,” Wood said. “It’s really four installations and two facilities; however, DLA’s got people all over the world, so it’s a bit more challenging to try and reach out to those folks.”

Wood said National Preparedness Month is not just about government-wide preparedness, but extends to families and communities as well.

“It’s been expanded on to the point where the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency created this national preparedness effort back in 2012,” he said. “From 2013 until today, DLA has actively participated in the national effort, and just last year, the Department of Defense published guidance to solidify the department’s position in national preparedness.”

Wood oversees the program, but said it’s the individual host activity’s responsibility to provide preparedness education and support for their people. A 2012 presidential directive requires DHS to submit an annual national preparedness report to the president.

“Because of our efforts, DLA has been specifically identified in that report every year since they started doing it,” Wood said.

This year’s theme is “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead – YOU CAN.” Events in the McNamara Headquarters Complex will include:

  • Crime prevention display in the café area Sept. 6, 11:00.-1:00.
  • Operations Security display in the café area Sept. 12, 11:00-1:00
  • Preparedness expo in the café area, Sept. 13 from 10:00- 2:00.
  • Active-shooter awareness training Sept. 14 and 20 in the McNamara Auditorium, 1:00-4:00.
  • Emergency management and display on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks in the café area, Sept. 20, 11:00-1:00.
  • Enterprisewide activities include 9/11 Remembrance/Patriot day events, radiological exercises, shelter-in-place drills, force protection and CBRNE exercises and various expos.

Wood said DLA has broadened its national preparedness effort to include the security aspect as well.

“We’ve included our antiterrorism program, law enforcement and fire program and they’re taking advantage of this focus to offer some tips from the security side of the house too,” he said. “We’re meeting the intent of preparedness, but [with] the added benefit of expanding other programs in security and emergency services. They all play into the preparedness piece at some point.”

Agency leaders are also beginning to appreciate the focus on preparedness as it relates to the people and culture strategic goals and resiliency, Wood said.

“Individual preparedness is the foundation for it all,” he said. “You have to take a personal interest in all aspects of preparedness — [for example], having a kit here at work with bottled water, first aid kit, some granola bars in a bag under your desk.”

Wood said an emphasis on individual preparedness is already part of the agency’s new employee orientation and will soon be delivered in the form of mandatory training via DLA’s learning management system.

“The training center just completed an all hazards awareness course that we’ve been working on for about two years,” he said. “People are becoming more familiar with preparedness and what it means. More people asking about questions about kits — and I think that’s phenomenal.”

Employees can find out more about how to prepare for disasters and maintain safety at home and work by going to where they can find tools and tips on emergency kits, planning documents and weather-related information.