Constant Vigilance evacuation drill enhances safety
CAMP FOSTER — Marine Corps Installations Pacific conducted Exercise Constant Vigilance 2012, an emergency preparedness exercise designed to improve incident response procedures, within MCIPAC and the surrounding community Sept. 10-12.
CV-12 tested and improved the procedures in response to natural disasters. Specifically, an earthquake of a significant magnitude, which could generate a potentially devastating tsunami on Okinawa within four hours.
The exercise was especially relevant since Japan and neighboring countries in the Pacific region have recently experienced natural disasters to include earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons, according to Tim Morello, the mission assurance director for MCIPAC.
Participants in the exercise included: MCIPAC first responders, U.S. Armed Services, Department of Defense Dependent Schools, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, key leaders in the surrounding communities to include mayors from Ginowan City, and Chatan Village as well as approximately 70 volunteers from the Ginowan City and Chatan Village community.
During the exercise, MCIPAC utilized the new tsunami warning system, as well as conducted a humanitarian assistance evacuation along designated routes designed to allow base personnel and local community members’ access through installations for quicker evacuation.
Col Dan Dowse, director for G-3/5 for MCIPAC Operations and Training, explained in case of an emergency, “The door will be open to support the local residents for the rapid evacuation.” In addition Col. Katherine Estes, Headquarters and Service Battalion Commanding Officer said, “We will prepare the signs in both English and Japanese for residents to evacuate smoothly, and try to coordinate with the local municipalities.” Estes also added, “The gates will be open at the time of the warning signal, even before the official agreement is signed.”
The Marine Corps also rehearsed evacuations on portions of Lester Middle School grounds, U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, Kinser Elementary, low-lying barracks on Kinser and Lester, and a Marine Corps Community Services warehouse. Camp services also operated shelters and safe havens on Camps Foster, Lester and Kinser.
“It is necessary to check the evacuation routes for the safety of the citizens,” said Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima. Chatan Village Mayor Masaharu Noguni also said, “This helps to give the residents the feeling of security to know the evacuation place and route.”
CV-12 improved processes and procedures by practicing command relationships, communication plans and logistical support before a crisis, which allows MCIPAC to more efficiently and effectively support service members, their families and the local community in the event of a real world situation.