CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – --
Typhoon season on Okinawa lasts from June to November, and with it brings the need for proper preparation in the event of a typhoon.
With the beginning of typhoon season in the pacific, a correspondent with Marine Corps Installations Pacific sat down with Michael Potton, the regional program specialist with American Red Cross aboard Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, to learn about the different tips and tricks to be used to make the season safe and manageable.
Q: Why is it important for the military community to be prepared for typhoons?
A: Typhoon season started June 1 and goes through the end of November. Typhoons can come up on us very quickly. They can form quickly or they can change direction and surprise us. Depending upon the severity of the typhoon it can affect the infrastructure of a building, including the electricity and water. A preparedness kit should be ready just in case.
Q: What happens when a typhoon is spotted in the Pacific?
A: When a typhoon is found, the installations start issuing the TCCOR levels. This is the Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness. They broadcast this on the radio, TV, and in every building on installation had aboard with the TCCOR level on it.
Q: What should be in the preparedness kit?
A: The basic of a preparedness kit is water, food and first aid supplies. A kit should have a three-day supply of water, which is one gallon per person per day. Food should be a three-day supply of nonperishable and easy to prepare. The first aid supplies should include the normal band aids, disinfectants, gauze, but also any medications that are needed or prescribed. The other items that would be useful to have are flashlights, batteries, a radio, important documents, extra clothes, and something to occupy time like a book or a game.
Q: What should be prepare before a typhoon hits?
A: The first thing you should do is stock up on water, food and other items you would need. The second thing is to clean up the yard and put away all the items that can be picked up by strong winds and thrown around. These items cause the most damage every year.
Q: What are some tips for water storage and usages during a typhoon?
A: Before a typhoon gets too close, fill up your bath tub with water. Typhoons can contaminate the water so it is better to have already clean water stored. This isn’t for drinking but for flushing the toilet, cleaning utensils and hygiene care.
Q: What are tricks to help keep children calm or distracted during a typhoon?
A: I have found just talking to a child and explaining the situation helps keep a child calm. If a parent is calm about the event, the child is more than likely going to follow their example. Nonelectric games, puzzles and books are good things to have on hand to occupy their time during the typhoon too.
Q: How can the military community prepare their homes for a typhoon?
A: Picking up the yard of all lose items such as lawn chairs, trampolines and such will help lower the chance of damage. Sandbags can be used to block out water from getting inside. Make sure that all the windows and openings into a home are secure. Wind is the most damaging aspect of a typhoon and can rip into small openings.
Q: What are other tips and tricks that the military community can use to make the time in a typhoon easier for them?
A: When preparing just take a moment and think about what you would do if there wasn’t any electricity or water. What would you need? Do you have a radio that uses batteries or do you have a way to charge your phone in the event you need to use it? Do you have everything for the children and pets? Sit down and make a list of everything you think you would need. And do this before a typhoon is imminent. You think clearer when calm and are less likely to forget things.