2023 Hurricane Season; are you prepared?

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Nordheim
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Every year members of Tyndall must organize and prepare for Hurricane season. For the Emergency Management flight, it is their responsibility to prepare, prevent, mitigate, recover and respond to any natural disasters or chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear events both man-made and natural.

The flight provides various trainings to military and civilian members on the installation and helps construct the groundwork for a prepared base and community.

“Something that people may not realize about the emergency management career field is, it is very hands on,” said Airman Kiara Duarte, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency manager. “We constantly stay proactive by holding meetings and exercises on how to be prepared for a disaster, what to do, where to go, who to contact and more. We stay up to date and provide others with essential information.”

The Atlantic hurricane season is a six-month long period that runs from June 1 until Nov. 30 and for Tyndall this means total preparation.

“Hurricane season is important because it brings a heightened awareness to the prevalence of hurricanes,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Mabry, 325th CES emergency manager. “It also gives us a time frame of when to be in a heightened state of readiness. We always recommend being familiar with all types of hurricane categories, the difference between a watch and a warning, and one of the most important things to know is what evacuation zone you live in.”

Knowledge can save lives, and for Tyndall, it can save a whole installation. Understanding the difference between basic key words can help reduce stress and keep individuals aware of current events. A watch means weather conditions in an area are indicative of an increased risk for severe weather capable of creating a natural disaster. A weather warning is when a natural disaster has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. A warning means you should take shelter immediately.

“Tyndall Air Force Base was hit by Hurricane Michael in 2018,” said Duarte. “Michael unexpectedly gained wind speed when it made landfall in Florida’s panhandle and destroyed Tyndall and the surrounding areas. After the hurricane, the decision was made to rebuild the base rather than to relocate it.”

After the decision was made to rebuild the installation, great effort was made to standardize all building codes to be prepared for a hurricane as devasting as Michael. With this $4.9 billion rebuild, the buildings are being made to be stronger than ever before by incorporating resilient infrastructure, innovative designs, and novel technology to equip Airmen with the ability to execute the mission of today and tomorrow.

“Since Hurricane Michael and every hurricane season since, Tyndall has constantly improved hurricane related processes,” said Mabry. “Each year during our annual hurricane exercise we recognize deficiencies that can be streamlined, and we do so immediately after the fact. We’ve learned to do these things while they are fresh in everyone’s mind in order to maximize efficiency.”