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Volcano precautions

Posted 1/8/2010   Updated 1/8/2010 Email story   Print story


Provided by the 3rd Civil Engineer Squadron

1/8/2010 - ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Due to recent volcanic activity with Mount Redoubt Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson residents should be aware of what tools to have handy and the precautions to take during an ash fall.

There's some good preparatory info for families at
The 3rd Wing weather will be notified immediately by the Alaska Volcano Observatory if an eruption occurs. You can also monitor Mount Redoubt at the volcano Website which has hourly updates:

Below is some additional information provided by the 3rd Civil Engineer Squadron. There's no need to be alarmed but be prepared in the event an eruption occurs and Elmendorf and Fort Richardson experiences ash fallout from the volcano. Please talk about the procedures with your supervisors, first shirts and commanders to ensure we are ready on and off duty.

The following will provide good situational awareness on processes and procedures in the event we had to fully implement response and recovery actions following an eruption and potential ash fallout.

The 3rd CES and other emergency management organizations, to include local and state EM organizations are in contact and reviewing and implementing checklist items as required.

Attached is a list of potential actions that we would implement as required, depending upon severity of conditions. Here are some general thoughts and direction for pre-planning:

· General facility and asset protection
1) Be familiar with on-base and off-base warning systems and emergency plans; 3 CES/CEX and your unit emergency management representatives can provide additional information if your unit requires it. The 3rd CES, in conjunction with facility managers, will work required HVAC/R system requirements; ash fall and weather will influence shut down versus increased maintenance for those systems that can't be shut-down.

2) If indoors close all windows, doors and dampers; plan to move as much equipment, vehicles and assets inside or under cover (e.g. garage, storage area or hangar) as possible; alternative (similar to what we do for contamination avoidance) is to cover assets w/ plastic, tarps or other materials.

3) If outdoors cover mouth and nose. Volcanic ash can irritate the respiratory system. Wear goggles to protect eyes. Keep skin covered to avoid irritation from contact with ash.

4) Have disaster supplies on hand such as flashlights with extra batteries, first aid kit, emergency food and water, non-electric can opener, essential medicines, etc.

5) Avoid driving if possible in heavy ash fall. Driving will stir up ash, clog engines and stall vehicles.

6) Stay indoors until local health officials advise it is safe to go outside. Refer to Elmendorf AFB Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan 10-2 for additional information, Annex 5 for volcanoes.

· General communications equipment protection prior to a volcanic eruption.
Ensure you have enough trash bags, plastic and tape to cover all electronic equipment. If a volcano erupts and a plume of ash is expected to pass over Elmendorf people will be asked to:

Safely power off all electronics. (ex. computers, monitors, printers, phones, faxes, copiers, UPS etc) Cover them with trash bags, or other plastic, and tape it down to protect equipment from ashes. Also cover and tape down all air vents, doors and windows in the room.

Ensure all back up communication equipment (i.e. LMRs, phones, Iridium, INMARSAT) is charged and functional prior to condition "red". Be aware that most communications equipment will not or have reduced functionality during and directly after the ash fall.

Functional system administrators who are responsible for program-managed server rooms, should ensure they have adequate ash protection along with shutdown and restoral procedures for all their equipment and server room(s).

For further questions and information, call the 3rd CS UCC at 552-3741/3744 if.

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