By Timothy FlackJuly 27, 2018
CAMP ZAMA, JAPAN -- Every year, dozens of typhoons spin across the Pacific Ocean, threatening the region with powerful winds and heavy rainfall.
Most typhoons hit Japan between May and October, with the peak season in August and September.
For the U.S. Army Garrison Japan community, the key to staying safe is preparation. Residents are urged to have a plan in place, and to build and maintain an emergency preparedness kit.
"We adhere to the 'Ready Army' philosophy of readiness and resiliency," said Installation Emergency Manager Will Luna. "We want our folks to build a plan, to have the supplies they need on hand, and to be aware of the situation."
Luna said that Garrison officials use multiple platforms to keep the community informed, to include the Garrison's Facebook page, the Commander's Channel, American Forces Network television and radio broadcasts, and direct cell phone messaging via AtHoc.
Residents can expect to see a series of standard Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness (TCCOR) alerts as officials continue to track any approaching typhoon, he said.
The TCCOR alerts -- and suggested steps to take with each -- include:
TCCOR 5: Destructive winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are anticipated within 96 hours. Review your Family Plan, to include emergency procedures, temporary safe haven locations, and emergency notification rosters. Ensure your Emergency Supply Kit is complete and readily available.
TCCOR 4: Destructive winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are anticipated within 72 hours. Review your Family Plan and ensure your Emergency Supply Kit is ready.
TCCOR 3: Winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are anticipated within 48 hours. Ensure your Emergency Supply Kit is complete and available. Secure large items around the outside of your home and bring smaller items indoors. Ensure shed doors and other outer doors/windows are secured.
TCCOR 2: Winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are anticipated within 24 hours. Set your freezer to the coldest temperature to minimize spoilage in case of a power outage. Ensure your Emergency Supply Kit is ready, to include water. Reconsider travel plans.
TCCOR 1: Winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are occurring or anticipated within 12 hours. Please continue to watch for updates on possible facility/school closures. Ensure your Emergency Supply Kit is ready, to include water. Watch for updates on facility closures.
TCCOR 1 Caution: Winds of 39-49 knots sustained are occurring. Stay indoors! Non-essential travel is suspended, and non-essential personnel should remain indoors. Watch for continued updates.
TCCOR 1 Emergency: Winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are occurring. Stay inside! Do not attempt to go outside until TCCOR All Clear is announced. Close blinds and drapes to prevent possible injury from broken glass.
TCCOR 1R: Winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are no longer forecast to occur. Stay indoors, please! Work crews are surveying the extent of damage and ensuring there are no safety hazards. Remain indoors until TCCOR All Clear has been announced.
TCCOR All Clear: There is no longer a threat of severe weather. Resume normal activities, and keep safe!
"We ask our local residents to follow the messages that we're pushing out, and to take them seriously," Luna said. "After a storm, your first instinct might be to head outside into the sunshine, but allow our first responders and emergency crews to ensure your safety."
One of the most important steps to take is to keep an emergency kit on hand, keeping in mind that typhoons often come with a loss of power. See the Ready Army link for building an emergency kit.
Luna also provided some additional tips to help local residents safely ride out a typhoon, to include:
Review and update your family emergency plan; move high-valued items to the center of your home away from windows; secure all outdoor loose objects; fully charge cell phones and portable electronics; fuel your car, and have your emergency kit ready.
Ensure you have three days' food, water and pet medications; have newspaper and plastic trash bags for handling waste; never leave pets outside during the storm/typhoon.
During the Storm:
Roll up carpets and move them away from the doors; leave flashlights in convenient locations; if you lose power, unplug your appliances to prevent power surges; ensure all oven/stove controls are off; lock doors/close windows; turn off fans, AC and force-air heating systems; avoid elevators; and stay indoors until TCCOR All Clear is announced.
Account for family members/pets; don't leave your home until TCCOR All Clear has been announced; avoid all downed power lines and report them immediately; assist/aid neighbors as needed; notify your stateside family members/unit/supervisors of your status.
Luna said his residents are also welcome to pick up a copy of the Garrison's Disaster Preparedness Handbook at public locations such as the Army Community Service building.
Luna referenced the Army Emergency Management Program's mantra when it comes to staying ready for any emergency.
"Be informed, make a plan, build a kit, and get involved," he said. "It's no surprise that we'll see typhoons every summer, so there's no reason not to be ready."