Be Army Ready this hurricane season
Maj. Gen. James M. Milano is Fort Jackson's commanding general.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- After witnessing a horrendous month of tornado outbreaks across the South as recent as this week, we easily realize just how devastating weather can be and how important it is to be adequately prepared for severe storms.

Next week, we shift our focus to the next seasonal weather threat " hurricanes. As we all know, hurricanes can be catastrophic on the coastline and dangerous to those living several hundred miles inland.

Although hurricanes rarely imperil the southeastern coast and South Carolina before fall, June 1 is the official start of hurricane season, and the season ends Nov. 30. Currently, we are in the middle of this year’s National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which runs through Sunday.

For the 2011 hurricane season, forecasters are predicting that there likely will be 16 named storms, nine hurricanes and five major hurricanes, defined as Category 3 or higher and with winds of 111 mph or greater. An average season for the Atlantic region has 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major ones. Last year, there were 19 storms, 12 hurricanes and five major storms.

Regardless of how the season unfolds, I expect that Fort Jackson community members will be ready. We should all make ourselves familiar with a number of things so that we are capable of dealing with these serious weather threats. Many of you may be already familiar with the Ready Army website.

There is a wealth of information that can be found there, on how to be prepared for hurricanes.

The Ready Army Program, which has been in existence for several years, is a proactive community awareness resource to empower our Army communities so that we can develop individual and family plans for all types of hazards.

Ready Army uses consequence and crisis management. What that means is that to be Ready Army, you will need to get a kit, make a plan and stay informed.

Families should put together portable emergency kits that include items for family members with special needs and for pets. Some of the items that you will need to include in the kit are at least a three-day supply of water and nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food, a manual can opener, flashlight, a first aid kit, and important papers.

Your plan needs to take into consideration a family communications procedure because there might be a good chance that your family members could be in a various places. Knowing how to stay in touch with one another will eliminate fear and confusion should disaster strike. Practice your plan and stay informed.

Each year on Fort Jackson, we drill for a couple of days so that all Soldiers thoroughly understand what they need to do should a hurricane head our way. This exercise is a very serious and synchronized effort, make no mistake.

It requires the interaction of many of our units and activities, all working in a simultaneous, coordinated and efficient way to maximize protection and resources for our Soldiers, family members and civilians in the event of a disaster. But preparation doesn’t stop with drilling. We must maintain that same readiness at the individual level.

The bottom line is that we need to be able to execute, and to be able to execute smoothly on short notice. You need to be able to put your personal plans in action.

Army Strong and Victory Starts Here!

Page last updated Thu May 26th, 2011 at 14:28