Tropical Storm Fay slams region with rain, wind --
Tropical Storm Fay dumped heavy rain, brought heavy winds, flooding and tornado warnings to the region when she swept through the area Friday through Tuesday.
No serious damage or injuries caused by the storm were reported at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, where base officials had planned for possible emergency actions before the storm’s arrival.
Planning for responding to severe weather, or other threats to the base, is conducted on several levels.
“The first thing we would do, if needed, is to stand up the Emergency Operations Center, which brings together the major directorates on base. We also have agreements with first responders in the area. We look at the possibility of being an evacuation point with military installations on the Atlantic and the Gulf coasts that we have agreements with,” explained Kent Morrison, deputy director, Base Operations and Civilian Training, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany.
Keeping higher headquarters advised of the local situation is another task that planners face.
“If a situation arises at MCLB Albany, we will notify Marine Corps Installations East and advise them of what’s going on here,” he said.
The decision for standing up the EOC belongs to the base commanding officer.
“That step brings together all the planning into one central location and gives the commander all the tools he needs to provide on-site commanders with the resources they need,” said Morrison.
The mass notification system is in place at the base to inform personnel of threats such as weather or other potential threats or hazards. The series of loud speakers around base can broadcast pre-recorded messages or a live message, depending on the situation.
“We can call individual buildings or we can provide a base-wide notification that reaches the warehouse area, the maintenance area and all the way to the base housing area,” said Physical Security Specialist Michael Bernard, Marine Corps Police Department, Public Safety Division, MCLB Albany.
“We can notify personnel instantly if we have severe weather or another kind of situation on base,” he said.
George Wolski, manager, Anti-Terrorism Force Protection, Public Safety Division, MCLB Albany, explained how the mass notification system is available for other situations.
“We could use it to get information out to base personnel about a terrorist incident or situation, force protection levels and any other information that pertains to them,” he said.
In anticipation of the arrival of Tropical Storm Fay to the Southwest Georgia region, the mass notification system was tested. But, thanks to circumstances, a need to use it never materialized.
A major upgrade to the system is planned, according to Keith Allen, a technician with Honeywell Corporation, a contactor who maintains the mass notification system.
“We have some upgrades coming that will make the system easier to work on and maintain, plus it’s going to be easier to use,” he said.
Although substantial amounts of rainfall were recorded around the region, the on-going drought may not have been erased.
“The rain certainly helped the farmers and homeowners, but we look at the amount of rain that falls in the Macon area, because that’s what refills the aquifers that supply the base water system,” said John Topper, environmental specialist, Environmental Protection Branch, Installation and Environment Division MCLB Albany.