News: Communications test evaluates procedures
Story by Cpl. Kristin Moreno
SAN DIEGO - Designated personnel participated in a Mass Notification Communication Exercise Sept. 7 to test Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego’s mass notification procedures in the event of an emergency.
The purpose of the exercise was to evaluate current procedures in order to improve emergency communication measures in the future.
The planning for the exercise first consisted of meeting with the operations and training assistant chief of staff, Provost Marshal’s Office, public affairs and family readiness officers of all tenant commands, to discuss their capabilities, what their current procedures were and what changes could be implemented to best support the depot. These procedures were then proposed and approved prior to commencing the exercise.
According to Craig Hunnewell, Mission Assurance Division emergency management analyst here, there were several new concepts implemented this year.
In the past, information was disseminated over the depot’s WAVES Mass Notification System, or loudspeakers; however, with developing technology, the depot is now incorporating other avenues of distributing information into their procedures.
In case of an emergency, information will also be posted to the depot’s official Web site and social media sites, a mass e-mail will be sent out to all personnel including non-Navy Marine Corps Intranet accounts, family readiness officers will send out a message via Marine On-Line and an emergency information hotline will be taking phone calls.
“The prior policy was you were supposed to let people know within 10 minutes what was going on, and we could do that,” said Hunnewell. “We were within guidelines and standards, but now standards have changed. Because of all the incidents, like Fort Hood and active-shooter attacks across the country, the Department of Defense said ‘Let’s not just rely on mass communication but use other avenues, too.’”
Hunnewell said the exercise is important because many individuals are uneducated about what to do and what not to do during a crisis. This exercise not only tests current procedures but shows all individuals what’s available during these hectic times.
The involved personnel will be completing after-action reports and providing feedback on how the exercise went to determine what further steps need to be made. They will continue to train on their emergency plan throughout the year.
Hunnewell said plans are being made to perform exercises quarterly to ensure depot personnel are confident and able to stay calm during a real-life scenario.
For additional information and continuous updates during an emergency, monitor the depot’s Web site, http://www.marines.mil/unit/tecom/mcrdsandiego/Pages/welcome.aspx, and Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/mcrdsd.