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‘We Are Definitely Ready:’ Exchange Braces for Hurricane Michael

An Airman at Hurlburt Field, Fla., buys a cooler to prepare for Hurricane Michael.

Before the latest hurricane to threaten the Eastern Region even had an official name, the Exchange team put the wheels in motion to fully support Soldiers, Airmen, military families and first responders in harm’s way.

Hurricane Michael, poised to slam Florida’s Panhandle this week, is the second major hurricane to bash the Eastern Region in the past month.

“Our teams from across several directorates actually began monitoring this storm and gathering information early Saturday morning (Oct. 6) before it was even named a storm to gain a general awareness of the potential impact to our facilities along the coast,” said Jeremy Boyd, the Exchange’s vice president of supply chain optimization. “We were definitely ready.”

Tyndall AFB, Fla., closed after a mandatory evacuation was ordered Monday. More than 2,000 emergency supplies, including generators, gas cans, batteries, water and flashlights, were bound for Tyndall on Monday from the Dan Daniel Distribution Center in Virginia. The trucks are being staged in Atlanta, waiting for the storm to pass.

A tractor-trailer loaded with about 16 pallets of bottled water previously staged from Hurricane Florence’s emergency support efforts will move from Fort Gordon, Ga., to Tyndall once the skies clear. Florence slammed into the Carolinas in early September.

More than 500 emergency supplies, including generators, gas cans, paper products and extension cords, are set to be shipped to Moody AFB, Ga. The Exchange expects to ship more supplies to stores in Florida and Georgia once Michael in the coming days.

Associates at Eglin AFB, Fla., prepare gas cans for customers.

Exchanges at Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field in the Florida Panhandle were open Tuesday, but will close Wednesday, if not sooner, depending on command evacuation orders. An Express is likely to remain open to meet emergency needs. Exchange stores at Moody AFB were open Tuesday, but will likely close at some point.

As the storm approaches, Exchanges are providing updates via local social media channels about opening and closing hours.

In addition to Dan Daniel DC, the Waco DC in Texas is prepared to load and move merchandise to the disaster areas. The Logistics team is maintaining contact with Exchange drivers and monitoring their locations.

“Eastern Region Senior Vice President Bob White and I are proud of our teams for working so quickly over the weekend to get things rolling,” said EVP and Chief Logistics Officer Karen Stack. “Our transportation team is closely monitoring the locations of our drivers to ensure that they are out of harm’s way.”

 

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