Naval Station Mayport preps for hurricane season: how active or retired military can get free help

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Naval Station Mayport is getting ready for “Hurrex,” their hurricane preparedness training. It will last two weeks and starts Monday, April 18.

The simulation training is just in case there’s a direct hurricane impact on or near the base, and if families need to evacuate.

“What we do is focus on disaster preparedness, response, recovery operations,” Nelson Anestor said. He is the Emergency Operations Center Manager. “How to tie down the ships, how to get them prepared, how to put out sandbags and different things like that to hunker down.”

Anestor, alongside his colleagues, plays a key role in making sure the base is operational even if a storm hits.

“I’m in charge of the evacuation orders, and everything related to that,” Al Iannacone said. He’s been the Director of Personnel Support Detachment for the last 14 years. During that time, the base has only had to evacuate three times.

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But, he said it’s better to be safe than sorry.

You should also know where to go, what to take and what your game plan will be. That’s where Julie Hobbs comes in.

“We switch gears from our normal systems to disaster assistance, emergency assistance,” Hobbs said. “We provide $600 loans to families, so they can help cover their evacuation costs.”

Hobbs works as a relief services assistant.

“If all your food is bad in your fridge because your power went out, we can help with funds to replenish your food,” Hobbs said. “If you’ve had damage to your house, we can help with your insurance deductibles.”

Arthur Gore helps with post-storm relief.

“We provide information and assistance to those DOD personnel,” Gore said. He is the supervisor in the Family Support Center. “The type of assistance we provide is maybe counseling service or financial services.”

The team wants to get the word out to be prepared to evacuate if you’re told to leave for safety. They also want people to know they can help you if finances are a concern. Hobbs said they can help with travel, gas, and lodging.

“Your things can be replaced. You cannot be replaced,” Hobbs said. “Your family can not be replaced.”

If you are active or retired military and need assistance before or after a hurricane, you can email Mayport@nmcrs.org or call 904-270-5418 x1504.

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