Between 1900 and 2014, the United States experienced 38 earthquakes, 166 floods, and 568 storms according to a Statista report. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), an agency in the U.S. Department of Defense with more than 26,000 civilian and military personnel, promotes and coordinates emergency preparedness exercises that result in disaster preparedness for the whole community. The Defense Supply Center, Columbus (DSCC), located in Whitehall, OH, hosts numerous federal agencies and military organizations, including DLA Land and Maritime.
At DSCC, disaster preparedness is a priority on the installation. The base and its surrounding communities experience multiple tornado watches and warnings every year. Strong winds and tornadoes have caused significant damage several times over the last decade.
Coordinating Emergency Exercises across the Installation
"Everyone needs to be aware that the
time to prepare is now - not when an
incident happens. We wanted to get
our employees and tenants thinking
about preparedness, not only at
work, but also at home."
- Jayce Ashwill, DSCC Installation
Emergency Manager, Installation
To improve community resilience and save lives, DSCC coordinated a tornado drill and practiced for evacuation engaging more than 7,000 employees and tenants. During the tornado drill, participants practiced their Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) and moved to designated locations to shelter in place while evaluators made sure everyone followed the proper procedures. The drill helped planners identify possible threats to the base and provide information that participants would need for different emergencies.
Later that afternoon, the DLA Police Department conducted an evacuation exercise. The department established traffic control points at designated street intersections to assist military and citizen personnel in exiting the base safely.
“We planned which gate people would exit from based on where they parked,” said Jayce Ashwill, DSCC Installation Emergency Manager with the Installation Support Office. “As they started the evacuation, the police officers discovered that some gates were backed up more than others, so they adjusted the traffic patterns to get everyone off the base safely.” Such flexibility under pressure highlighted the exercise’s importance, as increased preparedness can lead to smarter decision making during a disaster. Participating in America’s PrepareAthon! empowered DSCC employees and tenants to enhance their personal EAPs and submit observations and recommendations for improving DSCC’s overall disaster response. Event organizers are using these comments to adjust emergency plans to suit the base’s needs and to maintain its preparedness for multiple hazards year-round.