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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
‘Mandatory fun’ yields helpful emergency preparedness information

By Joycelyn Biggs | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | October 13, 2015


Being prepared for an emergency may not be a riveting discussion to have, but it is essential to ensure the best outcome, according to Steve Dancer, installation emergency manager, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

To provide information on the topic, an emergency preparedness class was held in the Base Theater, recently, to cover important tips to survive a crisis situation.

“I understand this is mandatory fun, but there is something each of you can take away from this session that will assist you in case of an emergency,” he explained.

Dancer informed the audience people have the best chance of surviving a crisis if they have a plan in place.

“Being prepared is having a plan beforehand, not when it happens,” he said.

One example Dancer continued to reiterate throughout the session was to enroll in the installation AtHoc system. Dancer said it is imperative to be informed of any emergency situation that may occur on base. He said the AtHoc System will send notification to every person signed up. He also provided systems outside the base which provide a similar service within the local community.

Becky Shiver, exceptional family member program, MCLB Albany, provided a few tips on how to be prepared in case of a fire. She informed the crowd there should be a fire escape plan for every room in the house. She also said to check windows to ensure they can be used.

“The absolute wrong time to discover windows are inoperable is during an emergency,” Shiver said.

She advised everyone to establish a meeting place outside the home and to incorporate a buddy system among siblings.

“This is extremely important because older children can assist the younger children (to) get out safely,” Shiver said. 

Practicing the plan is also crucial as it increases chances of survival, she noted. It is very important to actually go through the routine as if there is an actual fire. Doing this will acclimate everyone to the process and may identify some plans that may need to be changed.

When practicing the plan, it is suggested to actually sound the fire alarm.

“A fire alarm is extremely loud,” Kelley Hall, Marine Corps Family Team Building, MCLB Albany, said. “For young children or children with sensor issues, everything they know to do will go out the window if they are not prepared to hear that loud noise.”

To overcome that obstacle, Hall suggested activating the alarm during fire drills so children are aware of what to expect and how the alarm sounds.

She then asked attendees had they ever considered how scary the big fireman in the mask and suit may be to some children during a fire.

“That child may hide under a bed or in a closet from the scary figure if they have not been prepared and understand the person is coming to save them,” she said.

Hall recommended taking young children to the fire department. She said the firemen will be happy to dress up in the suit and even let children try on boots so they will be comfortable with that visual during a fire.

In case of a medical crisis, I.C.E. (“in case of emergency”) should be listed as a contact in all cell phones.  Shiver revealed emergency personnel understand to use those numbers for notification purposes.  She said the acronym I.C.E. has been used since 2005 and almost all first responders understand it to mean “in case of emergency.”

Having an emergency health card is also a very important tip. Hall said it saves precious time when first responders are assessing and treating a person.

She added another crucial item to have during an emergency is an emergency kit. Hall listed a first aid kit, blankets, non-perishable foods, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio, diapers, food for infants and any medication that is required daily as items that should be included. She then gave insight on two additional items.

“Cash is king if there is a major power outage during an emergency,” Hall said. “You won’t have access to an (automatic teller machine) so everyone should consider keeping an emergency fund on hand.”

The final item she mentioned with an interesting side note was water. The crowd was surprised when she advised one gallon of water for each person for three days is suggested.

After the session, pamphlets were provided to attendees for additional information and helpful tips on emergency preparedness.

For pamphlets or additional information, call 229 639-5911.