ACC uses Hurricane Irene to test plan
August 31, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--As the weather forecasters predicted last week, Hurricane Irene's target was the East Coast from South Carolina to Maine.
The hurricane will make the history books since the last major hurricane to hit the east coast and New York City was in 1903. Mass transit systems were shut down and evacuations were ordered in cities throughout the eastern coastline in anticipation of flooding.
The Army Contracting Command's G3, mission operations, kept a watchful eye on the reports and the potential risks to ACC activities located along the East Coast. ACC organizations in the path of the storm included ACC-Picatinny, N.J.; ACC-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; ACC-National Capital Region, Va.; 11 installation contracting offices from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command, and the 408th CSB at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.
On Aug. 26, Randle "Keith" Jackson, G3, conducted the command's first briefing on the execution of its Emergency Notification and Accountabiliy Standard Operating Procedures.
"We coordinated early today with crisis action team points of contact for each organization on our plan," he said. "Our priorities were employee accountability, mission continuity and possible damage to structures."
ACC's SOP was in the final stages of review and approval by the chief of staff , but was not signed. Lt. Col. James Mills, the chief of Current Operations, thought Hurricane Irene would be a great opportunity to test the plan and work on any gaps and areas for improvement.
"Before the SOP was reviewed and forwarded for final signature, we decided to hold off and use Hurricane Irene as a test pilot for the ACC emergency notification plan," Mills said. "This test run would allow us to identify any gaps and streamline the process."
ACC's plan was developed from lessons learned during the April 2011 tornado outbreak in Alabama.
"During the tornado outbreak we learned a valuable lesson on communications and the best ways to account for the safety of our employees, said Scott Romero, G3 Plans and Operations chief.
All ACC units have established alert rosters that are used to contact employees during emergency situations. These are maintained by work group supervisors. To ensure this information is current, ACC employees must review and update their emergency contact information in the U.S. Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System (ADPAAS) or provide their supervisors with their most current contact information.
"It may sound a little simple, but we need to remember that a large majority of folks recently moved to Redstone Arsenal and they did not have their current contact information updated. This was a lesson learned during the tornado outbreak in April 2011," said Jackson.
ACC emergency accountability calls were initiated for impacted units after the hurricane passed their locations. Once the calls had been placed to the affected employees, they had two hours to report their current status to their supervisor. All ACC units responded and could account for all their employees in the hurricane-affected areas.
While tracking the storm and accounting for its employees in the impact area, the 412th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, simultaneously prepared to deploy to provide contingency contract support to hurricane response and recovery efforts. Col. Jeff Morris, the 412th CSB commander, was designated by U.S. Northern Command as the senior contracting official and the 412th, was nominated to be the lead agency for contracting support for the Department of Defense.