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NEO Drill Held in Naples

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS150625-06
Release Date: 6/25/2015 9:05:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mat Murch, Naval Support Activity Naples Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- The Naval Support Activity Naples (NSA) Emergency Management Office held a Noncombatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) drill for members of the military community at the base elementary school, June 23.

Emergency Management holds several drills throughout the year including active shooter and earthquake scenarios, however the NEO drill is their largest annual exercise.

Overseas evacuations can be offered or ordered for events like civil unrest and natural disasters.

The scenario played out as if an emergency evacuation was happening and personnel from various command departments went through the same process they would in an actual disaster.

As service members and their families neared the school, signs directed them into lines for those with or without pets. Participants then signed in at reception and moved to the next station where volunteers helped ensure they had the correct paperwork and gave information on what to do if they were missing any necessary material.

Participant's passports were scanned and their information was entered into a database. Each person received a wristband with a barcode holding their relevant data.

'With a passport we scan most of the information we need to enter in the system right away,' said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Chris Niosco, from Emergency Management. 'We need full name, gender, birthdate and nationality, and the passport scanner makes it much easier.'

Participants continued on and had the option of visiting areas with personnel from medical, legal, Red Cross, the U.S. consulate, the chaplain's office and the Fleet and Family Support Center.

Army Chaplain Capt. Dwayne Hughes was one of the first participants to enter the drill and said he felt like he got a lot out of the evolution.

'It took me about 36 minutes to get through all of the stations and I learned a lot,' Hughes said. 'Me and my wife have a 'go bag' just in case something were to happen, but we didn't actually know what all information we needed to keep in it. Now that I've been through the process and saw just how much information I was missing and forms I'd never heard of. I'd also never heard of the Red Cross's 'Safe and Well' program, so the whole experience was informative.'

Breanna Perez, assistant at the Naples Red Cross field office, explained that the 'Safe and Well' program is a website operated by the Red Cross to help make communication between family members easier and more efficient.

'The website is designed so families in a disaster area can put in their names and other basic information and either a phone number or address,' Perez said. 'Then they click either a pre-determined message or a personal message for their families. Then family members outside the disaster can look up the name of their loved one along with either the address or phone number and see if they are ok.'

The participants from the installation's Emergency Management team said they felt that the drill was a success.

'Last year we had a mock up of this drill to see where we were and we've done a lot based on what we learned last year to make things better,' said Machinist's Mate 1st Class Aaron Berry, from Emergency Management. 'Annual training like this is very important because it helps us gauge our strengths and weaknesses. As important as it is to see what we are doing right, it's important to know where our weaknesses are so in the case of an actual disaster we can be as prepared as we can be.'

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