Disaster Prep Summer Series: Emergencies and the Navy

Hi All!
Welcome to our first Summer Series!! For anyone who missed the last post, this series will be covering Disaster and Emergency Preparation. 

The first in our Disaster Prep Series is Emergencies and the Navy.  In this post we are talking about information specific to the Navy in a disaster situation.  Where the best information is, checking in with your command/big Navy, requesting assistance, etc.  Except for an occasional reference, all of the future posts will not be military specific but applicable to anyone.

The Navy expects all service members, their families and any one else affiliated with the base to be prepared to take appropriate action in an emergency situation like evacuating, going to a shelter and also be able to recognize mass warning notifications.

It is very important during or after a disaster that the Navy know where you and members of your immediate family are and are alright.  This is applicable to all servicemembers and their families even if the servicemember is deployed.  Each command has set procedures on how to check in with them so make sure you check with your ombudsman or have your servicemember check with the command to make sure you are clear on these procedures ahead of time.  The Navy knows that their service members are not going to be able to perform the duties needed of them if they are worried about their families, especially during a disaster.  That is why it they put so much effort into making sure that each family member is accounted for and why they set up on base shelters during disasters and encourage all dependents to come to base.  That way their service members know their families are safe and can perform their duties effectively and without so much worry.

If your family has been directly affected by a declared emergency, make sure to also update NFAAS.  You may be asked by your command to do this as well.  NFAAS stands for Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System.  This is a database that helps the Navy manage the status of personnel and family members as well as assess any needs they have in a disaster situation.  NFAAS can be accessed by their website here or by phone at 1-877-414-5358 or 1-866-297-1971.  Family members will need their sponsor's date of birth and social security number to log into the website.  Once contacting them, you will be asked to do 3 things.  The first will be to make them aware of what family members are with you.  The second will be to update/verify your information such as your location and contact information.  The third will be to complete the the Needs Assessment Survey.  This will help the Navy assess what kinds of assistance your family needs.  This information is confidential and for Navy use only.  After you complete the assessment, you will be contacted by a Fleet and Family Support Center representative who will provide you with the assistance your family needs.  Be sure to keep NFAAS contact information in your emergency binder (future post) and your cell phones.

Also, check that your service member is registered with WAAN  (Wide Area Alert Network) and that their contact information they provided is correct and updated.  WAAN is a military emergency alert system that calls, emails and texts in the event of an emergency.  To register or update contact information, your service member will need to log inot their NMCI or One Net account, select "Access Self Service", select the "My Info" tab and update the information there.  Then select the "Devices" tab and update the work and personal contact information there and save before you log out.

Social Media is also a great way to get up to date information.  Many bases now have their own Facebook and or Twitter pages which are regularly updated in disaster situations as well as good day to day info such as lock downs, gate closures or any other useful information.  Fleet and Family Support Program also has a Facebook page that will also be a good resource and check with your Ombudsman and see if she has a page as well.  Also be sure to know your local emergency radio station and consider following their pages for general information.

Depending on the circumstates of the disaster/emergency, the Navy may set up their own on base shelters for service members and their families.  If/when these are set up your command, ombudsman, Fleet and Family and some civilian disaster services should be able to provide you with information on where to go.  Also, if you end up at a civilian shelter, keep an eye out for a small group of service members in full uniform who are looking for other military.  The Navy will often send representatives to civilian shelters looking for military families.  They will be able to direct you to the appropriate on base shelter.

Photo By Lisa Jacobs

As always, any comments or questions are more than welcome!
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Be on the lookout for the next post in the series soon which will cover family emergency plans and emergency binders.