Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan -- Different areas of the globe experience a wide variety of extreme weather conditions ranging from sand storms in the deserts to blinding blizzards in northern regions. No matter what the weather may be, preparation is the key for safely enduring these dangerous conditions.
Okinawa is not known for blizzards or sand storms but rather for the devastation caused by typhoons during the designated season from June 1 - Nov. 30.
A typhoon is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and deep moisture that produces strong winds and heavy rain. Okinawa experiences most typhoons during the summer months, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Military installations on Okinawa use a system of nine typhoon readiness levels called tropical cyclone conditions of readiness to inform personnel of the current typhoon threat and actions that need to be taken.
It is important to prepare an emergency care kit with items such as flashlights, food and water in the event of power and water outages, according to Glen U. Andrews, current operations and training officer with G-3/5, operations and training, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
During a typhoon, medical care will still be available at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa and emergency personnel will still be available through the 911 system, according to Andrews.
There are also a number of household preparations one can execute to minimize damage during a typhoon.
“First and foremost, everyone can take responsibility for the safety and security of their personal property,” said 1st Lt. Sean P. Raymond, an installation law attorney with the staff judge advocate’s office, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “There are measures we can take to avoid loss or damage to our property from typhoons.”
Once a typhoon is forecast, residents should ensure they secure all outside items, such as sheds, trampolines, swing sets, lawn mowers and barbecue grills, according to Raymond. During a storm these objects could become projectiles.
After the storm, it is important not to throw away damaged property immediately, Raymond added. There is a two-year window to claim storm damage, and residents should take pictures of property beforehand to prove the proper steps were taken in case damage claims are necessary.
TCCOR 4 is continuously in effect as a minimum condition of readiness throughout the typhoon season.
During TCCOR 1 Caution, all personnel are advised to stay inside. However, during TCCOR 1 Emergency, all personnel are required to stay indoors until TCCOR 1 Recovery is announced.
The Air Force 18th Wing commander is the TCCOR authority for all military installations and SOFA personnel on Okinawa, according to U.S. Forces Japan instruction 15-4001. Although a camp commander can increase readiness levels or take other precautionary measures, only the wing commander can reduce readiness levels or give the all-clear following a typhoon.
To receive updates and monitor storm progress on Okinawa, visit www.usno.navy.mil/jtwc, tune-in to American Forces Network television and radio programming, or call 634-4081.
For more information regarding emergency planning, please visit www.ready.gov, www.fema.org, www.redcross.org or http://72hours.org.
Military Police (from on-base) 911
Military Police (from off-base) 098-970-3423/3887
Ambulance and Fire Department
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(from off-base) 098-83-7911
U.S. Naval Hospital Emergency Room
(from on-base) 646-7311
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