An ounce of preparation helps while stationed in Japan

Story and photo by Joe Schmitt, CFAY Public Affairs

Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) set Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Four or TCCOR IV Sept. 18. Around noon the next day, CFAY set TCOOR III and at 2:15 p.m. local time, CFAY set TCCOR I. The CFAY community prepared for the storm and waited for the “All Clear”.

Personnel from Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East work to remove a tree from the top of a car where the tree fell during a recent storm. Disaster preparedness in Japan means understanding that a storm can happen anytime and can cause damage to surrounding structures.

Jeff Lindaman, CFAY Emergency Management Officer, explained that people need to prepare before a storm gets to Yokosuka. The command does forecasting based on readings from around base and they also monitor the Japanese websites and their weather forecasting but people still need to be prepared in case the situation changes quickly.

Destructive winds and rain a typhoon brings can cause damage to government or personnel property. The best way to prevent damage is to either bring loose items inside or to tie them to something that won’t blow around like part of a building or a fence.

During the storm the ocean became more agitated by the wind and the waves grew in strength and intensity. When forecasters measure the ocean’s condition it’s called the current “sea state.” “The winds from the storm drive the seas and can cause a high storm surge,” said Muth. A storm surge is a large wave or series of waves that are cause by large storms like typhoons. “The waves and rain can cause flooding so that is also a concern during a storm,” said Naval Oceanography Antisubmarine Warfare Center (NAOC) Yokosuka Public Affairs Officer Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Travis Muth, in a previous interview.

Typhoons are not the only natural disaster that can effect the CFAY community. Residents also need to be ready for tsunami and earthquakes that could potentially happen in areas close to the base.

Lindaman explained that when a tsunami warning is issued the best plan is to travel up hill. He advised that while every location and neighborhood is different, traffic and construction or obstructions can change any route. The basic plan is to go uphill, any hill that will provide a safety distance from the wave is good to travel up.

Earthquakes do not give people a lot of time to respond but when shaking starts, people should get away from heavy furniture or other items that could fall down and find a safe place to wait for tremors to stop like a door way.

Lindaman explained that before and after natural disasters there will always be information available. People should stay tuned to the command information channels like channel 15, website, Facebook site, Youtube site, Eagle 810 radio station, big voice notifications or official email. There will also be information put out in the first floor of housing towers and at community centers.

For more information on how to stay prepared visit http://cnic.navy.mil/Yokosuka/index.htm and click on the preparedness checklist on the right hand side.

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