MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
From a hurricane, tropical storm or straight wind event to a tornado, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany has had its share of severe weather in the last 12 months.
Within the past year, the installation has been home to recruits from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, Oct. 9-10, 2016, due to Hurricane Matthew; survived an EF-3 tornado that touched down Jan. 22 causing millions of dollars in damages and dodged Tropical Storm Irma that swept through the area, Sept. 10-11.
Base officials understand disasters happen any time throughout the year, so they want to prevent the loss of life and minimize property damage as much as possible by building a resilient community.
On Sept. 26, installation officials held the third annual Preparedness Fair at the Lincoln Family Housing Community Center aboard the base.
Steve Dancer, emergency manager, MCLB Albany, said the fair was held to help educate those who work and live aboard the base on what to do in case an emergency arises.
“The purpose of the Preparedness Fair is to provide everyone, installation housing residents, civilian-Marines and their family members, actions they can take to ensure they are better prepared should a disaster of any kind strike,” Dancer said. “If only one family is better prepared for an emergency, then this event is a success because they will be more resilient and potentially be prepared to help their neighbors while waiting for help to arrive.”
September is National Preparedness Month and according to Dancer, the Preparedness Fair was the installation’s culminating event.
“The theme for this years’ National Preparedness Month is ‘Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can,’” he pointed out. “It’s better to prepare for an emergency situation now than wait until the storm is on the horizon.”
Quoting Benjamin Franklin, Dancer stated, “Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail!”
This was Gunnery Sgt. Billy Serpas, base supply chief, Logistics Support Division, MCLB Albany, first time attending the Preparedness Fair.
“My wife was very interested on the steps we should take for us to prepare for an emergency,” Serpas said. “We just went through Tropical Storm Irma and she wanted to get more information so we will be well prepared in case something else like this happens.”
This was his first time experiencing severe weather while stationed aboard the base, according to Serpas.
One item needed for his home is a weather radio, he pointed out.
“I do not have a weather radio,” he admitted. “This was the first time I had seen a weather radio and (I learned) how to operate it.”
During the fair, Serpas and his family learned more tips about preparing for disasters including how many gallons of water and food an individual person needs to have per day.
Serpas noted the fair was well organized and put together.
“We can never know enough when it comes to (preparing for) an emergency situation,” Serpas added. “The more knowledge we have, the more prepared we will be especially here in Southwest Georgia with tropical storms and tornados.”
During the event, MCLB Albany Emergency Management provided information on the mass notification system; Sailors from the Naval Branch Health Clinic, Albany shared information about immunizations as well as pharmacy and TRICARE information; the National Weather Service discussed hazards associated with destructive weather, weather alerts and weather radios.
The Georgia Department of Public Health, Southwest District 8-2, All Hazards Preparedness provided information on how to prepare individual emergency kits, to prevent hazards associated with mosquitos by destroying their breeding pools, and other important preparedness tips.
Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 1, Albany, Georgia, created preparedness kits for a car, work space and home as part of their Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge and Boy Scouts of America Emergency Preparedness Award requirements.
Other representatives and community partners included Marine Corps Police Department, MCLB Albany’s Fire and Emergency Services, MCLB Albany’s Environmental Office, Marine Corps Community Services, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, the American Red Cross and the Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron 002.