2022 hurricane season; what Tyndall is doing to prepare

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Team Tyndall has an integrated, multi-level approach when it comes to hurricane preparedness led by the 325th Fighter Wing plans and programs office and the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management flight.

The installation is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of policies and procedures to ensure information is current and accurate if Tyndall has to react to a severe weather situation. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season, June 1 to Nov. 30, is expected to have above normal storm expectations.

“As we have seen in the past, the worst can happen,” said Capt. Torrance Barach, 325th FW plans and programs chief. “Being prepared gives us the mobility and the freedom to respond to the units by making sure recall rosters and accountability procedures are organized, which is a great place to start in managing preparedness.”

Tyndall designed a “Hurricane Smart Book” which contains information from national agencies, base and local guidances as well as preparation resources. This allows Tyndall Airmen and their families access to checklists, procedures and tools necessary to make an emergency plan as well as build a hurricane preparedness kit. Kits should meet the basic needs of all members of the household to include spouses, children and pets, which are commonly forgotten in the preparation process.

“We have to assume that 70 percent of our personnel did not grow up in areas with hurricane experience,” said Maurice Spikes, 325th CES installation emergency manager. “Taking the time to prepare ahead of time is so important. Have an evacuation plan with a primary and an alternate location [and within a 350 mile radius] in opposite directions in case the storm changes course. Ensure you have access to communication and know where the Bay County [designated shelters-in-place] are.”

The Smart Book exists alongside Tyndall’s Installation Emergency Management Plan; a comprehensive collection of checklists and action items base leadership must accomplish when responding to various crises.

“You have to know what your plan is for when a hurricane happens again; how we are going to protect our planes, people and equipment,” said Tech. Sgt. Felipe Gonzalez, 325th CES noncommissioned officer in charge of emergency management. “The most important thing is knowing your people, where they are and who has the ability to support the mission in an emergency.”

The 325th CES emergency management flight advises Tyndall units what responses should be considered in the appropriate time frames needed for weather preparations as determined by historical data.

“We need to have an integrated response to come together and work together to secure the base and our people,” said Staff Sgt. Jeydi Delgado, 325th CES NCOIC of emergency management programs. “When we’re securing the base before a storm, no one knows a unit’s vulnerabilities and assets better than its people.”

The impacts of a hurricane are not new to Tyndall personnel after Hurricane Michael, but the base has taken lessons learned from 2018 to better prepare Airmen, families, units and assets for future storms. Tyndall will always remain vulnerable to severe weather due to its location, therefore ensuring the base itself and families are ready remains a commander priority.

“Sometimes it’s easy for us to compartmentalize our professional [lives] from our personal lives,” said Barach. “We have to pass down information to our dependents, make sure that they know how to use the Air Force Personnel Accountability and Assessment System, that Government Travel Cards are valid throughout the hurricane season and that we don’t forget pets.”