GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Natural disasters can have devastating effects around the world. The news is filled with stories of people in need after such a disaster strikes and the months following the recovery.
In preparation for the unexpected, Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay participated in Hurricane Exercise/Citadel Gale 2015 (HURREX/CG 15), a regional exercise on reacting to Hurricane threats to the installation.
"What it does is, walk you through certain situations to ensure your preparedness is going along and getting ready for the beginning of Hurricane season," said NS Guantanamo Bay Installation Training Officer James Norrell.
The entire community played a part in the exercise through having to muster and update their Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System information to ensure that the base had 100 percent accountability. Having that accountability is a vital aspect of responding and recovering from a natural disaster.
"We are going to get ourselves as prepared as we can," said NS Guantanamo Bay Base Emergency Manger Lt. Jeff Folds. "It is important, like with any disaster, to have a plan, have an idea. Hey this is what we are going to do to keep people safe and keep our installation moving, and our overall readiness to continue the mission."
Hurricane season in Cuba starts June 1 and does not end until Nov. 30. It is imperative that personnel know how to handle and react if such an event were to occur, such as Hurricane Sandy that struck the island back in 2012.
After completing HURREX the base is now better prepared for the destructive forces that can arise.
"I think the biggest issue is if you don't have an executable plan where you can exercise certain steps to ensure that you mitigate damages and the communications inside of it," said Norrell.
Community members can help prepare their families in the event of a disaster by making sure they have a preparedness kit ready to go.
"As we are leading up to hurricane season, the biggest thing, and I need help from everyone, is to get your hurricane kits ready," added Folds. "Everyone is responsible to have a three-day supply of items you need."
To help with these efforts, the American Red Cross will be at the Navy Exchange at NS Guantanamo Bay May 3 from 3 to 6 p.m. displaying preparedness kits available to order. Prices vary depending on the kit chosen but customers do not have pay until the kits arrive, which is typically two weeks after placing an order.
The American Red Cross is also selling first aid kits and has additional information on how to prepare for emergencies.
For more news from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, visit www.navy.mil/local/guantanamo/.