Emergency Management Team Implements Multitiered Approach to Preparing Its Community for Disaster
The Little Rock Air Force Base (AFB) in Arkansas knows how important it is to prepare for natural and manmade disasters. In 2011 and 2012, two tornadoes drove through the city, damaging aircraft and residential housing. The Air Force base has also faced manmade emergencies, including an attempted breach of the security gate in June 2015.
Members of the Little Rock AFB emergency management team set up trifolds and informational tables with flyers from America's PrepareAthon! and the Air Force Be Ready program.
Those incidents helped the base’s emergency management team identify gaps in their preparedness plans. To better prepare for potential hazards, Little Rock AFB recently joined the millions of people who participated in registered preparedness activities in collaboration with America’s PrepareAthon!SM
Since aligning its preparedness initiatives on base with America’s PrepareAthon!, Little Rock AFB has ramped up the Air Force Be Ready program. In addition to required drills, the base hosted multiple seasonal tabletop exercises with the Emergency Operations Center, as well as real-world exercises to ensure the community knows where to shelter in place during a tornado and how to prepare for other hazards, including snow and ice.
“We’ve implemented a severe weather program in coordination with Weather-Ready Nation to check that each facility on base identifies the best location for shelter during severe weather and that people will have sufficient space to do so,” said Staff Sgt. James Archebelle, a member of the base’s emergency management team.
Ensuring Base Safety for a Fluctuating Population
Like many military installations, Little Rock AFB has a revolving population of residents, staff, and visitors, which can make it difficult to keep the community prepared for disasters. Frequent preparedness outreach and activities across base are necessary to make everyone aware of ways to stay safe.
“Overall, the base is well prepared for multiple types of disasters and emergencies, but we never take it for granted,” said Staff Sgt. Archebelle. “We take every opportunity to ensure that people in our community are prepared and know what to do whenever hazards occur, and we frequently practice and prepare our personnel and families for potential disasters.”
Teaching Tornado Safety at the Child Development Center
During America’s PrepareAthon!, the emergency management team gave presentations on tornado preparedness and thunderstorm safety to nearly 100 students at the base’s Child Development Center. Team members used visual aids to illustrate the effects of tornadoes and engaged the children with coloring books, games, jokes, and toys to make the preparedness lesson fun.
During America’s PrepareAthon!, Staff Sgt. Archebelle and his team spoke about preparedness with students at the Child Development Center on base.
“We talked to the children about what to do in the event of a disaster,” said Staff Sgt. Archebelle, “and we gave them materials on building emergency kits to take home to their parents.”
Promoting Preparedness Activities On Base
To promote these activities during America’s PrepareAthon!, which coincided with Little Rock’s peak tornado season in April, Staff Sgt. Archebelle and his team reviewed tornado safety measures during commander’s calls, in town hall briefings, and with each unit and housing office on base. They also published a newsletter about tornadoes and other potential hazards in Little Rock, and the Public Affairs Office helped promote the base’s PrepareAthon! activities and newsletter through its Facebook page. These promotions enhanced the emergency management team’s efforts to keep the community safe not only on this successful day of action, but also throughout the year, every year.