When some people think of the Coast Guard, the first thing that may come to mind is response. After all, one of the biggest things the Coast Guard is known for is search and rescue. However, proactivity is a big part of what the life-saving service does as well. Having a preparedness plan is a huge step in the right direction in being proactive for safety and effectiveness in any situation.
Hurricane season is upon us.
While hoping for the best is optimistic, preparing for the worst is a must. Everyone should have a hurricane preparedness plan.
On July 10, Florida-based Coast Guard units held the first of multiple training sessions in which people were educated on setting up and executing hurricane preparedness and evacuation plans. Coast Guard members and their dependents listened to high-ranking, experienced service members, including the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Jason Vanderhaden, about what can be done to prepare for a hurricane.
At 160 attendees, the event was lively and packed.
“This evening’s Family Readiness Night is the first of five we have planned,” said Capt. Megan Dean, commander of Coast Guard Sector Miami. “Initial feedback was we hit the mark with tonight’s event. Both our members and their families walked away with the information and tools necessary to make a plan and be prepared in the event of a hurricane.”
Having a hurricane evacuation plan seems to be what people struggle with the most. While it’s never easy to leave your home under emergency circumstances, there are systems set in place to assist you, if and when, an evacuation is recommended.
“People don’t always know what tools and resources they have at their disposal,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Aaron Zimmer, command master chief of Coast Guard Sector Miami. “When evacuations begin, things can get disorganized quickly and having an evacuation plan ready ahead of time can make all the difference.”
There are multiple tools that can be utilized for you hurricane preparedness plans, like:
- The Emergency and Evacuation Assistance Program provides wellness checks, specialized transportation and shelter for evacuees who are handicapped.
- The Miami-Dade Transit Tracker app can help find ideally located evacuation centers and Miami-Dade transit pickup locations.
- You can call the number, 311, or visit miamidade.gov to get info on where to evacuate to once an evacuation order is given.
- All of these resources and more are at a person’s disposal, however it’s the individual’s responsibility to seek out the information and utilize it before they are put in a bad situation.
“Readiness is the main pillar of the three attributes Coast Guard Commandant Karl Schultz values in his policy: readiness, relevance, responsiveness,” said Vanderhaden. “We need to make sure our families are ready to respond, evacuate and do what is necessary during an emergency.”