MCLB is ready for Mother Nature
MCLB Albany is one of only six Marine Corps facilities and 52 military installations to receive this designation, according to Bob James, deputy director, Operations and Training Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
"StormReady is a nationwide community preparedness program that uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle all types of severe weather â" from tornadoes to tsunamis," James said.
According to the Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service application, in order to become a StormReady installation, MCLB Albany was required to satisfy more than 30 criteria in six categories and demonstrate proficiency in each.
Some of the requirements included obtaining and maintaining several mass notification systems, having weather observer storm tracker personnel trained by the National Weather Service, holding annual safety talks on various weather-related issues, participating in community preparedness activities such as destructive weather exercises and many other criteria.
Mass notification systems included having radio systems on base. In addition to having the systems operational, dispatchers had to become knowledgeable of correct responses to the weather radio alarms, according to Mike Harris, installation emergency manager, MCLB Albany. Additional notification systems at MCLB Albany include the use of digital sign boards on base, releasing All Hands computer notifications and a fully functioning emergency operations center.
In order to meet all the requirements, Harris explained his office had to work closely with the MCLB Albany police and fire departments, Public Affairs Office and other installation offices. The required collaboration between offices to meet the objectives created a sense of teamwork, he said.
"Mastering each of the requirements has given MCLB Albany personnel critically important knowledge concerning weather emergencies," Harris said.
Harris explained, even after all the criteria have been met, maintaining the designation is an equally important and a tedious process.
"A re-inspection is required once every three years," Harris said, noting although the official re-inspection is once every three years, NWS representatives can, and do, visit at any time. "Any deficiency noted could cause MCLB Albany to lose the designation."
This project took about a year and a half to complete.
"It's not an easy process, and therefore not many installations have the ability to say they are StormReady," Harris said.
He added when he came to work here in December it was a personal goal to help establish MCLB Albany as a StormReady installation.
"I wanted Colonel (Don) Davis, (commanding officer, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany) to be able to say MCLB Albany has met the challenge and we are prepared for severe weather," Harris said. "I want everyone on this base to know their leadership, responders and emergency management programs are ready to face the tasks ahead in the event of severe weather and we are ready to keep them as safe as possible."
As a StormReady installation, MCLB Albany will receive signage from the National Weather Service depicting it as such.