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News: Okinawa typhoon season nears

Story by Lance Cpl. Peter SandersSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

CAMP FOSTER, Japan - Different areas of the globe experience a wide variety of extreme weather conditions ranging from sand storms in the deserts to blinding blizzards in northern regions. No matter what the weather may be, preparation is the key for safely enduring these dangerous conditions.

Okinawa is not known for blizzards or sand storms but rather the devastation of typhoons with the designated season from June 1 - Nov. 30.

A typhoon is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and deep moisture that produces strong winds and heavy rain. Okinawa experiences most typhoons during the summer months, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Military installations on Okinawa use a system of nine typhoon readiness levels called tropical cyclone conditions of readiness to inform personnel of the current typhoon threat and actions they should take.

It is important to prepare an emergency care kit with items such as flashlights, food and water in the event of power and water outages, according to Glen U. Andrews, current operations and training officer with G-3/5, operations and training, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Those concerned about medical care or other emergency services should be aware that emergency personnel will be available for the duration of typhoons, according to Andrews.

There are also a number of household preparations one can execute to minimize damage during a typhoon.

“First and foremost, everyone can take responsibility for the safety and security of their personal property,” said 1st Lt. Sean P. Raymond, an installation law attorney with the staff judge advocate of Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “There are measures we can take to avoid damage and loss to our property from typhoons.”

Once a typhoon is forecast, residents should ensure they secure all outside items such as sheds, trampolines, swing sets, lawn mowers and grills, according to Raymond. During a storm these objects could become projectiles.

After the storm, it is important to not throw away damaged property immediately, Raymond added. There is a two-year window in which to claim storm damage and residents should take pictures of property beforehand to prove the proper steps were taken in case damage claims are necessary.

TCCOR 4 is continuously in effect as a minimum condition of readiness throughout the typhoon season.

During TCCOR 1 Caution, all personnel are advised to stay inside. However, during TCCOR 1 Emergency, all personnel are required to stay indoors until TCCOR 1 Recovery is announced.

The Air Force 18th Wing commander is the authority on TCCOR for all Department of Defense facilities and personnel on Okinawa, according to U.S. Forces Japan instruction 15-4001.

Although a camp commander can increase readiness levels or take other precautionary measures, only the wing commander can reduce readiness levels or give the all clear after a typhoon.

To receive updates and monitor storm progress on Okinawa, visit www.usno.navy.mil/jtwc, tune into American Forces Network television and radio programming, or call 634-4081.

For more information regarding emergency planning, please visit www.ready.gov, www.fema.org, www.redcross.org or http://72hours.org.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

MCB HQSVCBN command duty officer 645-7315
Base officer of the day 645-7218

Camp Foster base access operator 098-892-5111
Military Police (from on-base) 911
Military Police (from off-base) 098-970-3423/3887
Ambulance and Fire Department
(from on-base) 911
(from off-base) 098-83-7911

Kadena AB Access Operator 098-938-1111
U.S. Naval Hospital Emergency Room
(from on-base) 643-7338/7433

Disaster kit:

BOTTLED WATER

• At least one gallon daily per person for up to seven days.

FOOD

• Stock enough food for at least seven days consisting of non-perishable packaged or canned foods and juices, and any special foods for infants or the elderly.

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

• Non-electric can opener
• Gas-powered cooker with fuel
• Disposable plates and utensils
• Blankets and pillows
• Clothing to include rain gear and sturdy shoes
• First-aid kit
• Toiletries and hygiene items
• Flashlights and batteries
• Battery-operated radio
• Whistle
• Fire extinguisher, matches
• Dust mask
• Charged cell phone, extra battery
• Cash (dollars and yen)
• Credit Cards (banks and bank teller machines may not be accessible)
• Prescription medications, and glasses
• Towels, rags and mops
• Keys, local maps
• Place important documents such as insurance papers, medical records, banking information and Social Security cards in a waterproof container

FOR THOSE WITH PETS

• Proper identification, immunization records and medications
• Ample food and water
• A carrier or cage
• A muzzle and leash

READINESS LEVELS

Military installations use a system of nine typhoon readiness levels, referred to as TCCOR, to inform residents of the current typhoon threat and actions they should take.

The conditions are:

TCCOR 4
Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are possible within 72 hours.

TCCOR 4 will be continuously in effect as a minimum condition of readiness annually June 1-Nov. 30

• Stock up on food, bottled water, flashlights, candles and other typhoon supplies.
• Secure items inside before going on leave or temporary duty.

TCCOR 3
Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are possible within 48 hours.

• Inventory all supplies.
• Prepare and fill water containers.
• Select the most centralized room in the house for a living area during the storm.
• Fill privately owned vehicles with gas.
• Pre-position emergency supplies.
• Initiate a general clean-up around residence and office. Remove all loose items outside and secure those left outside. Civil engineers usually travel throughout the base to ensure items such as playground equipment are put away or secured, but this requires cooperation from base residents.

TCCOR 2
Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 24 hours.

• Continue to monitor storm progress.
• Locate all utility shut-off points and prepare for immediate shut-off if necessary.
• Re-check outside areas for loose items. Housing residents are responsible for securing their quarters and all items outside the home including outdoor toys, bicycles, barbecue grills, trashcans, tables and chairs. Residents in towers also need to bring items from the balconies inside.

TCCOR 1
Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 12 hours.  All military installations will take preventative action in preparation of an imminent typhoon.

• Fill bathtub with water for sanitation needs.
• Move high-value items to a central point in quarters to prevent damage.
• Check emergency lights and flashlights.
• Limit outside activities.
• Continue to monitor storm progress.
• If a fire hazard exists or power fails, turn off electricity, water and gas until power returns.
• No school for Department of Defense Dependent Schools. Children return or remain at home.
• Refuse collection services stop. Occupants must secure garbage, cans and bulk items
• Alcohol consumption prohibited.

TCCOR 1 CAUTION
Destructive winds of 50 knots or more anticipated within 12 hours. Actual winds are 35 to 49-knots.

• Non-mission-essential personnel released to quarters
• Secure/sandbag exterior doors/windows.
• Turn off all non-essential electrical items.
• Discontinue outdoor activities except those in direct support of urgent military missions.
• The base exchange, commissary, gas stations and all AAFES facilities close.
• Alcohol consumption prohibited.

TCCOR 1 EMERGENCY
Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are occurring.

• All outside activities are prohibited.
• Stay tuned to American Forces Network radio and television channels.
• Alcohol consumption prohibited.

TCCOR 1 RECOVERY
Once destructive winds have subsided. Actual winds are 34 to 49 knots. Widespread damage and hazards may still exist.

• Non-essential functions remain closed.
• No outdoor activity is authorized other than workers from predesignated emergency crews.
• DoDDS schools remain closed.
• Alcohol consumption prohibited until command sounds normal liberty.

STORM WATCH
The base is still experiencing effects of the typhoon. A storm may still exist in a nearby location. Heightened alert status is necessary to rapidly establish regular TCCOR condition in case the storm changes course. Hazardous conditions may still exist due to storm damage.

• Commissary and exchange resume operations unless otherwise directed by installation commander.
• Everyone will return to work within two hours from the time Storm Watch is declared unless otherwise instructed by their commander.
• DoDDS teachers and staff will return to work during normal work hours, but students will not report until “All Clear” unless otherwise instructed.
• Alcohol consumption prohibited.

ALL CLEAR
All-clear is announced by each camp commander as they declare no hazards exist. However, be alert to possible damage and hazardous road conditions. DoDDS teachers, staff and students will return to school during normal hours.


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Public Domain Mark
This work, Okinawa typhoon season nears, by LCpl Peter Sanders, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:05.31.2013

Date Posted:05.30.2013 20:45

Location:CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, JPGlobe

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