Tsunami Exercise Trains Personnel on Emergency Preparedness

Tsunami Exercise Trains Personnel on Emergency Preparedness

by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Khor
CFAO Public Affairs
OKINAWA, Japan - (Mar. 30, 2017) - Sailors from Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa (CFAO), tenant commands, and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) participated in a tsunami drill on White Beach Naval Facility, Mar. 30. 
 
With the base being in very close proximity to the ocean, a tsunami is a very real threat to personnel and assets. The goal of the exercise was to train those in the local area on how to safely evacuate and survive a tsunami.
 
Many local departments participated in the exercise including White Beach Fire, Security, Port Operations, Red Cross and representatives from Uruma city.
 
Oly Magofna, the emergency management officer for CFAO, said the goal of the exercise was to save lives by making sure all personnel on White Beach know how to evacuate safely and procedures are put in place to ensure personnel accountability.
 
"We have not had an exercise like this in five years," said Magofna.
 
He said working with JMSDF personnel allows for inter-agency coordination.
 
"Working with the Japanese helps solidify the U.S. partnership with the host nation of Japan," said Magofna. "Our partnership is greatly enhanced with exercises such as this." 
 
During the exercise, the speaker system announced an impending tsunami that would reach the beach shortly after noon. Personnel scrambled out of buildings and made their way to the JMSDF headquarters by foot and automobile. Personnel who were driving picked up those they saw struggling to make it up to the rendezvous area. JMSDF's soccer and parade fields were used as the assembly area.
 
At the rendezvous point, units organized into groups, and supervisors made head counts. They then reported their personnel attendance to the unified command post. Once the unified command post received head counts from all departments, they reported the final attendance to the emergency operations center, which concluded the exercise once all personnel were accounted for. 
 
Following the exercise, essential personnel gathered to discuss the drill and receive feedback.
 
Positive thoughts echoed around the debrief from both U.S. and Japanese personnel. 
 
"It went better than I expected," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Lee Bianca Roberts, assigned to CFAO Port Operations. "It was organized and people knew where they were going. It was a great training environment."
 
Lt. j.g. Makoto Kihara, attached to the JMSDF Oceanographic Observation Station, said it was a good opportunity to judge the response of personnel while reacting to a tsunami drill. 
 
CFAO plans to hold this type of exercise yearly on White Beach to train personnel on the procedures needed to safely evacuate. 
 
For more information on Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa, please visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/COMFLEACTOKI/

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