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NMCCL Stories

News | June 21, 2024

NMCCL Sailors train with MCB Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River in extreme weather exercise

By MC2 Justin Woods

CAMP LEJEUNE, NC – Sailors assigned to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune (NMCCL) and its branch clinics are prepared for the Atlantic Hurricane Season. NMCCL trained with Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River aboard both installations during a multi-day weather exercise from June 10-13, 2024.

The Sailors trained on emergency operations management, storm shelter setup, and check-in processing.

“We're trying to prepare both commands aboard the installations, as well as our family members and residents who live here, on the appropriate actions that need to be taken should we have to incur a tropical storm or cyclone,” said Michael Pratt, NMCCL emergency manager.

If severe weather like a hurricane hits Eastern North Carolina, storm shelters will be available for military, retirees, and their dependents. These shelters will be set up and manned by the Sailors who attended the three-day training exercise.

“There are shelters both on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River,” said Pratt. “Onslow County also has shelters that they will be set up during those times.”

"The hospital corpsmen will be assisting with the check-in process and running an initial symptom assessment,” said Hospital Corpsman Second Class Paola Stanley. “We’ll assess to see if they have any symptoms [of illness], and if they do then we’ll direct them to either the isolation or quarantine room. Everyone else will go with the general population.”

There will also be an on-site nurse posted at every shelter to assist with any medical needs for the duration of the storm. According to Pratt, each shelter can hold approximately 200 individuals with cots and bedding supplies, but the shelters aren’t equipped with food and other essentials.

“When you come to the shelter you need to bring all your own essentials. Your own food, your own toiletries. Probably, most importantly, medications and even medications if you're evacuating as well.”

Pratt recommends always having at least two weeks of medications on hand and additionally having an old-fashioned hard copy of your prescription from your doctor.

Before beneficiaries receive an alert for impending severe weather, they should prepare for the situation whether they choose to shelter or evacuate.

Emergency preparedness kits should have fresh water, excess nonperishable food, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, first-aid kit among other items; North Carolina Emergency Management provides extensive storm packing lists on their website.

Pratt suggests military, their families, and Department of Defense (DOD) employees stay alert for upcoming severe weather by enrolling in emergency notification services.

“AtHOC is a DOD-mandated mass notification system for all personnel,” said Pratt. “Additionally, Onslow County has OnSolve, another notification system for hurricanes, tornadoes, and other severe weather systems."

AtHOC sends alerts for more than just hurricanes, but tornadoes, wildfires, and other natural disasters. OnSolve Code Red Alerts allow you to input your address to alert you if a storm is expected to approach your home.

“In 2018, Hurricane Florence hit and did a significant amount of catastrophic damage in our area,” said Pratt. “It was only a Category 1 storm when it made landfall, but it sat over us for multiple days. The flooding that came from ’just a tropical storm’ was life-threatening, and people did lose their lives because of it. I want everyone to remember, don't pay attention to the category number. ‘Just a tropical storm’ can have catastrophic and life-threatening effects.”

For more information on either emergency notification system mentioned please visit their websites:
AtHOC Notification System – https://cnrse.cnic.navy.mil/Installations/NCBC-Gulfport/Operations-and-Management/Emergency-Management/AtHOC-Notification-System/
OnSolve Code Red Alerts – https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BFF6BA5294DB
Preparedness Kits – https://www.readync.gov/plan-and-prepare/get-kit
Don't forget to keep your family's information up-to-date in DEERS.