The 2019 severe weather/hurricane season starts June 1st and ends November 30th. Given the past years' hurricanes and evacuations, it is critical we remain vigilant and be prepared this hurricane season. I urge you to create a family action plan now so you are ready to implement it when an evacuation is ordered.
For 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).
Having a plan and knowing what you and your family are going to do in the event of a major storm will greatly enhance your safety and security. I urge you to sit down with your family and develop a family action plan detailing the specific steps you will take in the event of severe weather, to include a potential evacuation. Essential personnel will likely be ordered to report to SMTC to assist during an evacuation. Family members should have an action plan that takes this into account. If a major hurricane threatens, local emergency management officials may order you to leave your home and seek shelter. These evacuations can cause a serious emotional and financial drain to our families. All military and civilians in receipt of a Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) have been advised that their GTCC is to only be used by them and for them. At a minimum, you should have a credit card and cash reserve set aside to use in the event of one or more evacuations.
Special Missions Training Center is committed to supporting you and your family in the event of an evacuation. In the event of an evacuation, the following information applies:
- Reimbursement of expenses is available to active duty military members and civilian employees, and their dependents only if the evacuation is authorized for your county by the Fifth District Commander in Portsmouth, VA. The most significant impact on the District Commander's decision is whether state or local officials have determined an evacuation is appropriate; however, the Sector Commander may request an evacuation order from the District based on local experience, even if state and local officials have not ordered an evacuation.
- If the District authorizes an evacuation for your locale, the following expenses will be covered within certain specific limits: travel to and from the designated safe haven site; lodging while at the safe haven site; meals and incidental expenses while at the safe haven site. The maximum dollar amount for reimbursement of each of the above items will be based on the location of the Coast Guard-designated safe haven. Evacuating to locations other than the designated safe haven site may increase your out-of-pocket expenses.
- Please be aware travel advances may not be immediately available when an evacuation order is given and Coast Guard members are prohibited from paying for dependent evacuation expenses on their government travel charge cards. Therefore, you should plan on using cash, checks or personal credit/debit cards to pay for dependent evacuation expenses, subject to reimbursement after travel claims are correctly filed and paid (with receipts submitted). Additional information on filing claims will be provided to evacuating members when the evacuation order is issued by Fifth District.
- Please carefully review the attached enclosures. Everyone should be fully prepared. Please take this matter seriously, and take steps now to protect your family in the event of a natural disaster. We will hope for the best, but must prepare for the worst.
All of your family readiness requirements and your action plan should be completed as soon as possible.
Thank you for your shared commitment to hurricane preparedness. Your safety and well being is of utmost importance to me and to the success of the SMTC.
A. L. WEST
Captain, U. S. Coast Guard
Commanding Officer, Special Missions Training Center
Hurricane Evacuation Entitlement Guidance
Emergency Evauation Card and Useful Websites
Severe Weather Plan (2019)
Accountability Information and Procedures (2019)
Hurricane Preparedness Family Guide (2019)
D5 Staff Evacuation Preparedness Guide (2018)