Written by Anastasia Devlin, Reservist Magazine
We’re just a month away from what’s predicted to be another wild hurricane season. It feels like we hardly recovered from the last one, yet, as an organization, we’re taking the lessons learned and making ourselves stronger.
If we’ve learned anything from the response to the 2017 hurricanes, it’s that members can be the victim and/or the responder at any time, and the only thing we can control is our readiness.
In 2016, Lt. Gen. Rex C. McMillian, commander of Marine Forces Reserve, said, “Always consider your next drill as the last one you get before you are activated and deployed.”
Excellent advice. Whether you’re active duty or in the Reserve, readiness affects us all.
With the start of the 2018 hurricane just weeks away, it’s time to get yourself prepared. Again. Here are our Top 10 Readiness Recommendations to help:
1. Get official orders before deploying: Work with your command to make sure your travel is official — this protects you in the event of an accident. This is especially relevant for reservists who may have their benefits impacted if traveling in a non-duty status without orders.
2. Have a family care plan: Are you a dual service family where both parents may be deployed at the same time? Are you the primary care giver of an elderly parent? Ensure you have a plan in place for your children, pets and home while you’re away.
3. Be ready to pay the right way: Everyone should have a government travel credit card in a safe place, for government travel purposes only. Be sure you call to check the credit limit and get it raised before traveling if needed. Keep receipts and file travel claims within five business days of arriving home.
4. Know your ombudsman: Does your family know where to get support when you are deployed? Make note of your command’s ombudsman, and don’t be afraid to reach out before you need help, if only to say hello. When your family is cared for, you can focus on the job.
5. Update your personal records: Ensure your documents are in a safe place and where your family can get access to them. Does your spouse need a Power of Attorney to act on your behalf while you’re deployed? Reservists can obtain this free through the Coast Guard legal office if they do it while on ADT (two weeks of active duty).
6. Secure your community obligations: Do you coach a team? Do you lead scouts? Do you serve within groups in your community (religious, business, sports)? Let your community know you may be deployed so they can be fully prepared as well.
7. Dust off that sea bag: Make sure you have the right uniform for deployment. Anticipate not having access to laundry for a week or two, and bring what you need. Need uniforms? Try out the Uniform Distribution Center’s online ordering.
8. Check the status of your gear: Is your go-bag ready? Make sure you bring any service-issued gear or materials required to do your job. Is your personal protective equipment (PPE) up to date and readily available? NOW is the time to address equipment needs!
9. Get in the green: Have you met your individual medical requirements? Ensure you check CBGI for your readiness compliance now – before you need to deploy. Contact your command to let them know of any issues as soon as you can. Have a supply of necessities on hand before you depart (prescription medications, contact solution, etc.), especially since you may deploy to a hard-hit disaster area without access to necessities.
10. Reservists, talk to your employers: Does your boss know your obligations as a reservist? Understand your protections under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) so you can return to your job smoothly.