Severe weather and NASIC

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Seth Stang
  • National Air and Space Intelligence Center Public Affairs

The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base community and most of Ohio just experienced numerous, dangerous tornados…do you know how to respond and where to go if one does approach while working in a National Air and Space Intelligence Center facility?

Tornado season in Ohio is typically from March through August, but can happen anytime. Tornadoes usually occur near the trailing edge of thunderstorms and injury or death occurs from building collapses or debris.

Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can form, cause fatalities and devastate an area within seconds with little to no warning. Due to the severity of these storms, WPAFB and NASIC utilize multiple methods for issuing tornado watches, warnings and required actions.

“Our goal is to minimize damage to personnel and property. The best defense in any contingency, is preparedness,” said Paul Schantz, NASIC facilities and logistics deputy director.

There are two standard types of tornado notifications. Outdoor, such as warning sirens and public address systems and Indoor, which includes computer generated messages and NASIC’s center-wide PA system.

Types of weather alerts include:

• Tornado Watch: Issued when weather conditions favor the formation of a tornado. NASIC personnel should remain alert and be prepared to seek shelter inside the facility’s designated tornado safe zones.
• Tornado Warning: Issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar.
• A 3-5 minute steady tone will be broadcast over the installation warning system.
• All personnel must take shelter immediately (a sense of urgency is critical to protecting and saving lives).

During a tornado warning personnel should observe the following procedures:

• Individuals should avoid sheltering in elevators due to potential entrapment from possible power failures.
• NASIC personnel, assigned to the main complex, must seek shelter inside facility designated tornado safe zones.
• Tornado safe zones are indicated in green on facility maps located throughout the NASIC complex.
• NASIC personnel assigned to other facilities, i.e., 91, 103, 148, 280, 4023, 4042, must seek shelter inside their facilities designated tornado safe zones.

Additional NASIC specifics include:

• Personnel take immediate cover within the nearest tornado safe zone instead of taking extra time trying to locate a particular one.
• Personnel located in building 859 trailer are to re-locate inside building 856; personnel in building 867 relocate to B280.
• IPC Conference attendees report to Rm 8139 in building 828.
• Custodial contractors report to either Rm E177 (Budian) or any restroom marked in green on the “Tornado Safe Zone” maps.
• Once in a safe zone, stay put and do not relocate to another safe zone.
• Personnel must remain in the tornado safe zone until the “all-clear” is officially given. Accountability should also be taken as soon as possible using recall rosters.
• B280 – please note the designated safe areas are limited in size and location.

Safeguarding of Classified Material is another important center specific concern. Though personal safety is first priority; personnel should make every effort to ensure compliance with the following procedures:

• In the event of a possible tornado, take all necessary actions to safeguard classified material early (i.e., secure all classified materials not in use during a tornado watch).
• When a tornado warning is disseminated over the installation, secure classified material if possible and take immediate cover within the tornado safe zone. Again personnel safety is priority number one.

For specific roles and responsibilities and location of tornado safe zones for particular buildings, personnel should reference the slides found in the Tornado Rehearsal of Concept.

“When you hear an emergency notification, please spread the word and ensure others around you are aware,” Schantz said. “Also, try to offer assistance to those in need.”