By Alexandra Shea Fort Jackson Leader
As spring gives way to summer, South Carolina and Fort Jackson begins living up to the states moniker of “Famously Hot.” This means shorts, pool time, air conditioning and hurricane season.
“I’m from Texas, so we rarely deal with hurricanes there,” said Fort Jackson Protection non-commissioned officer in charge Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Waterbury “Hurricanes are new for me. Michael was my first hurricane experience and I learned that preparedness is something everyone should keep in mind while living in southern states.”
Waterbury works in the Fort Jackson Installation Operations Center, the hub for information exchange and mutual operations support during times of pandemic, attack and sever weather that may affect Fort Jackson and the surrounding communities.
Waterbury works closely with Ramon “Ray” Domenech, the installation emergency manager, during hurricane season which begins June 1. One of Domenech’s jobs is to keep Soldiers, staff and leadership informed of potential sever weather and is considered the subject matter expert on hurricane response should Fort Jackson be directly or indirectly impacted by a hurricane.
“Forecasts are not 100% accurate so we have to prepare for the potential of something happening,” said Domenech. “Preparedness saves lives and increases our chances of survival.”
Domenech said the two most important preparedness steps to take are making a plan and building a kit.
A Family or personal plan includes safe guarding important documents in water resistant protectors, discussing and identifying a safe place to go in the event of an evacuation order or if separated, ensuring each Family members has readily available phone numbers and ensure Family members all know the plan.
“Have cash in hand as well,” Domenech said. “So many people forget because they are used to using cards but cash will allow you to make purchases if the power goes out.”
Building a kit includes all the essential needs each Family member will need for a minimum of 72 hours. Such items as medications, food, clothing, personal hygiene items, radios and flashlights could be included in a hurricane preparation kit.
“Don’t forget about the needs of your pets,” Domenech added.