Kadena welcomes Chatan Town residents for tsunami exercise
Kadena Air Base, Japan -- A bilateral natural disaster exercise was held here Nov. 5 to test and improve evacuation procedures between members of Team Kadena and the local community.
Approximately 50 residents of Chatan Town participated in a simulated evacuation of local Okinawans from low elevation areas near the Sunabe Seawall to higher ground through the base in the event of an earthquake or tsunami.
The drill began with a disaster notification, which entails the sounding of coastal tsunami alarms and wide-spread alert notifications sent to mobile phones.
"If a tsunami were to actually happen," said Capt. Steven Brenoskie, 18th Security Forces Squadron operations officer, "it is a real and imminent threat to anyone living along the coast. So it's important for everyone to know what to do, where to go, and the fact that we will welcome them and facilitate them to higher ground as quickly as possible."
Security Forces personnel provided gate entry to all participants and provided escorts as walkers made their way from Gate 1 to the designated recovery zone at Gate 5.
Medical teams stood by to provide care throughout the nearly two mile walk. Attendees were greeted by Col. Debra Lovette, 18th Mission Support Group commander, and Kamiyama Masakatsu, Chatan Town deputy mayor, with refreshments upon arriving at their destination.
"I would like to express our sincere appreciation to Col. Lovette, who is here with us on behalf of the 18th Wing for the cooperation," said Masakatsu. "Chatan Town would like to ask for the base's continued support for our evacuation exercises."
The exercise was organized in support of an agreement made last year that opens Kadena's gates to the local population in the event of a natural disaster.
"As one of Chatan Town's measures for disaster preparedness, we signed disaster evacuation agreements with Camp Foster and Kadena Air Base," said Masakatsu. "With cooperation from everyone, Chatan Town is diligently working on improving our disaster preparedness measures."
The tsunami drill was part of a larger scale exercise being conducted throughout mainland Japan and many other military installations on island. With local nationals and U.S. ambassadors working together, the exercise helped to make it clear that in the face of a natural disaster, aid is available.
"We love living here in your homeland very much," said Lovette. "We know that along with that we have to work together, especially in the case of natural disasters that might happen, such as a tsunami or anything else that happens in our area."