News: Typhoon Exercise Pakyo tests ability to weather a storm
Story by Senior Airman Katrina Brisbin
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - The 36th Wing, in conjunction with local government agencies, conducted Typhoon Exercise Pakyo here June 19-27 to maintain emergency response procedures and capabilities.
For Guam, tropical storms and typhoons can occur any time of the year, though a typical typhoon season runs from late June through December. This year is considered an El Niño cycle in which there is higher probability for a typhoon to impact the island. The potential damage and injuries to people are high due to destructive winds and large amounts of rainfall that could occur during the storms.
Typhoon Exercise Pakyo integrates all command and control center efforts across the island and tests the effectiveness of current emergency management procedures before, during and after a typhoon.
Pakyo, the Chamorro word for storm or typhoon, is an annual exercise. It is a joint effort involving Joint Region Marianas, the Government of Guam, Defense Logistics Agency, Submarine Squadron 15, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, Guam Homeland Security and Office of Civil Defense.
“This exercise will get everyone in the right mindset and better prepared for a real typhoon,” said Master Sgt. Bradley Dapilmoto, 36th Wing Inspector General inspection superintendent. “It allows the units and base personnel to become familiar with all tropical cyclone condition of readiness measures. Also, local members will be able to learn our capabilities when it comes to preparing for and recovering from a typhoon.”
Knowing the TCCOR levels and what each stands for is an important part of storm preparation and endurance.
Typically, there are approximately 72 hours of warning prior to a typhoon hitting. The island is in TCCOR 4 at all times because a typhoon is always probably in that short amount of time. When the condition changes to TCCOR 3, a typhoon could hit within 48 hours. It is highly suggested that personal vehicles are filled with gas and people are prepared to employ family plans. The next condition, TCCOR 2, is an indication that a typhoon will hit within 24 hours.
“During TCCOR 2, begin closing shutters, secure or store outside items and prepare generators,” said Airman 1st Class Taylor Neuharth, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management apprentice. “Stay abreast of weather updates which may include monitoring the TV, radio, public affairs and emergency management facebook pages, and the Commander’s Access Channel.”
When TCCOR 1 is announced, a typhoon is within 12 hours of hitting the island with destructive wind and rain. At this point, the gates will close. Only mission-essential people will be allowed outside. Others are encouraged to stay in shelter until given the all clear.
“This is a good opportunity each year where we encourage residents to check their storm shutters and ride-out preparations,” said Dapilmoto. “Typhoons can develop and hit Guam in a few days’ time. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out your storm shutters are rusted open or your flashlight and radio batteries are dead.”
More information on how to prepare for storms and what to place in family kits is available through the emergency management flight that can be reached at 366-3133.