PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- With the onset of the Atlantic hurricane season approaching, the Navy is currently conducting HURREX/Citadel Gale 2016, its annual hurricane exercise designed to prepare the Navy to respond to weather threats in coastal regions and maintain the ability to deploy forces, even under the most adverse weather conditions.
All Navy commands with personnel in Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, Naval District Washington (NDW) and Navy Region Southeast--ashore, afloat, in port and underway--will participate.
"U.S. Fleet Forces initiates the exercise and directs Commander, Naval Installations Command to participate, thus pushing it out to NDW and down to us [at Naval Air Station Patuxent River]," said Chris Beyer, emergency manager.
Beyer explained the exercise also evaluates Pax River's capability to prepare, mitigate, plan, respond and recover from a hurricane or similar incident causing life/safety concerns and disruption to infrastructure.
"The first week incorporates information sharing and preparation for a hurricane potentially impacting the installation," he said. "The second week incorporates response and recovery from the hurricane making landfall."
This year's HURREX scenario involves two simulated tropical cyclones that will develop and intensify to hurricane strength, threatening the East Coast of the United States, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean coastal regions.
"The hurricane will hit the region, causing massive damage to infrastructure, such as buildings collapsing, power outages, downed trees, traffic accidents and flooding," Beyer said. "However, we can't comment on specific incidents impacting this installation or others, as it would provide exercise participants with information otherwise unknown during an actual impending incident."
During the exercise, Pax personnel might receive messages regarding incidents or observe emergency responders at different locations.
"If personnel receive direction to report their status through NFASS (Navy Accountability and Assessment System), they must comply," Beyer added.
Beyer advises taking personal responsibility beforehand, so that in the event of a real life emergency situation, each individual is prepared to weather the aftermath.
"Personal preparation and planning increases one's chances to survive and recover from a disaster and allows responders to aid others and restore the community to pre-disaster conditions," Beyer said. "FEMA advises individuals should not anticipate assistance from responders for 72 hours after a disaster occurs; therefore, individuals should prepare to be self-sufficient and prevent against becoming a casualty."
For more news from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, visit www.navy.mil/local/patuxent/.