Storm Drills Helped, So Would Better Coordination

After the storm and the activity died down, officials at Keesler AFB, Miss., conducted its own lessons learned process. Maj. Gen. William Lord told reporters that the base practices proved their mettle, noting that window covers and construction materials for storms are labeled, pre cut, and stored on base—hauled out for the base’s twice yearly storm drills. Lord said that using electronic methods—barcodes and laptops—to track those staying in base shelters helped to make certain no one got lost. He acknowledged that coordination with first responders (the Harrison County, Miss., Emergency Operations Center) could have been better. He thinks the local responders “needed more help but were often unsure” how to get it from federal organizations. Lord now teaches a two-hour course for Air Force personnel at professional military education schools at Maxwell AFB, Ala., on crisis situation preparation and performance. One thing he definitely recommends is more joint exercises with local communities around the country.