Naval Station Great Lakes Prepares for Nature's Worst

Story Number: NNS121019-09Release Date: 10/19/2012 12:34:00 PM
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By Jim Boylan, Naval Station Great Lakes Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Naval Station Great Lakes (NSGL) conducted Exercise Citadel Rumble-Reliant Midwest Oct. 15-18 to evaluate the training and readiness of Sailors and civilians to respond to emergency situations.

The exercise consisted of two events.

The first scenario Oct. 16, simulated a landslide east of Bldg. 62. The simulated landslide struck a fuel storage tank and caused a fuel spill that entered Lake Michigan causing a large environmental incident in the simulated scenario.

"These exercises are conducted four times a year per installation to better prepare first-responders for mass casualties and anti-terrorism," said Mark Wegge, Navy Region Midwest training director.

"This event allowed NAVSTA to practice how we would respond to a 'what if' scenario," said Randy Carmen, installation training officer and scene controller. "Since we had the landslide a few years ago, the possibility of a slide taking out the fuel tank is more of a possibility. By going through the process and reviewing our procedures, we became more prepared just in case the scenario ever becomes a reality."

The second event conducted Oct. 17, simulated the National Weather Service issuing a tornado warning for northeastern Cook County and eastern Lake County, with a funnel reported in the Libertyville area with winds over 40 miles per hour in the simulated scenario.

NSGL emergency dispatch notified personnel of the danger and issued verbal instructions to take immediate shelter. Lake County also simulated tornado warning sirens.

The scenario simulated a tornado touchdown in the field just west of the visitors center, Bldg. 6130. It traveled east causing structural damage to the Fisher Clinic, Bldg. 237, Boorda Hall, Bldgs. 33 and 34 and Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQs) 634/635. The tornado also caused downed trees and street lights. It blew out windows and left piles of debris in its wake. There were reported injuries at the Fisher Clinic creating a mass casualty event. The role players required emergency family assistance centers services and the occupants of the BEQs were relocated.

"A tornado is probably our most likely natural disaster threat," Carmen said. "Exercises like this gives us the opportunity to practice the things we would do if a tornado hit the base. During this event we stressed the importance of having a viable shelter-in-place plan for each building. Knowing what to do and where to go during a tornado strike could save your life."

NSGL held a recovery workshop to conduct a tabletop exercise from the landslide/hazardous materials event and the tornado strike, Oct. 18. The workshop created an incident action plan that covered the first 72 hours, the first week, and the first month of recovery requirements.

The installation training team was comprised of representatives from Naval Station Great Lakes, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Training Support Center (TSC), Lovell Federal Health Care Center and Fleet and Family Support Center. Great Lakes was the lead organization. The team was assisted by 39 TSC students and the Lake Bluff Fire Department provided mutual assistance.

For more news from Commander, Navy Region Midwest/Naval Station Great Lakes, visit

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