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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Sept. 8, 2020

VIDEO: Hurricane evacuation procedures and resources for Coast Guard families


Laura marks the 13th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which has included four hurricanes and nine tropical storms so far and counting. Be ready for the remainder of this season by knowing which resources are available to our Coast Guard members and their families when impacted by natural disasters.
Watch the video developed by Lt. Cmdr. Daniel A. Schrader, a public affairs officer from the Mid-Atlantic Region, to learn more about how to prepare. The video contains an important message shared by Rear Adm. Keith Smith, commander of the Fifth District, frequently asked questions and answers, as well as, resources from Chief Warrant Officer Millie Rocklage, and Capt. Ron Labrec. Fifth District leaders hope that you find this video to be useful to better understand the evacuation procedures and resources available when a hurricane lands in your area.


Rear Adm. Keith Smith, Fifth Coast Guard District 

Hey Good morning.

We find ourselves in a unique time. One in which we are navigating the current coronavirus pandemic while keeping our eyes on the horizon for hurricanes. 
As we wrap up 2020 PCS transfer season, the majority of new personnel and their families have arrived in their districts. 
Many of these personnel are new to the threats of the hurricanes. To ensure that our entire team is always ready we must all know how a hurricane will unfold during both rescues and at home. 

The coronavirus safety measures while necessary have prevented us from holding group meetings as we have done in the past to share this information. Therefore, we have put together this video to explain how a hurricane evacuation will unfold and what resources are available to you and your families if you need to evacuate. 

I encourage you to use this video as a launch pad for learning more about the resources available to you when we are impacted by a hurricane. 

If you have not started making preparations and building your hurricane plan, I encourage you to do so now. The time to prepare is now when the winds and rains are here. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your Ombudsman, the Chaplin, the Office of Work Life, or your chain-of-command for more information. 

As always be safe and Semper Paratus. 

Evacuation Orders by Chief Warrant Officer Millie Rocklage

Hello, I’m Chief warrant officer Millie Rocklage with the D5 admin office. And I am here today to answer a few questions about what you can expect during a hurricane evacuation. 

Question #1: If a hurricane evacuation is issued what should I do?
Answer #1: When an evacuation is issued, the first thing you should do is determine where you’re going to locate. The message will provide information as far as what mile radius you are authorized to evacuate to. As of now, we do not plan to issue a specific location but provide a mile radius in which your family can safely relocate based off your individual needs. 

Question #2: The next question we get: When should I travel?
Answer #2: Travel as soon as the message is released. We do not want you to wait for paper orders. Paper orders will be issued to you upon returning to your duty station at the completion of your evacuation. 

Question #3: what if we don’t have orders yet?
Answer #3: The most important thing to remember is that you do not need to wait for paper orders to evacuate. As soon as the authorizations are provided to you, you and your family can leave and paper orders will be provided upon your return to your duty station.  

Question #4: One of the next questions we get is how to pay for an evacuation?
Answer #4: An evacuation should not cost you money out-of-pocket. The Coast Guard is going to provide for your family with a lodging allowance [screen text: Money to cover the cost of a hotel stay] and per diem [screen text: money to cover the cost of food while traveling] allowance which is designed to help cover your food and incidental expenses that you will incur because you are not at your home because of the evacuation.

Please ensure to verify your lodging rate on the per diem website so you know how much you can spend. You are required to provide receipts for your hotel as long as you stay within the set rate to the city you evacuate to. You will not have to pay out-of-pocket. The per diem allowance, which you get is for your food and incidentals and does not require receipts. It is a set rate for you and your family per day that you have been evacuated.

Question #5: The next question we get how will we be reimbursed for your travel claim? 
Answer #5: Once you return to your location after your evacuation, your local admin office will provide you with orders and sit down with you to process your travel claims based off of where you evacuated to. Make sure you bring your receipts and any questions you have so that we can properly document your expenses and get you reimbursed. 

[Screen text] Question #6: Can I use my spouse’s government travel card during an evacuation?
Answer #6: The government card is only authorized to use only if your service member is traveling with you. If you are traveling without your service member, you cannot use the card. 

[Screen text] Question #7: How do we pay for the expenses of evacuation? 
How do I pay for expenses if my service member is not traveling with me? 
Answer #7: The answer to that is, we have a program called Coast Guard Mutual Assistance []. Its designed to help provide financial support in immediate circumstances. They can provide a loan to you, an interest free loan of up to $1,000 provided to you to offset the cost of the hotel and meals when you evacuate. If you require additional assistance beyond the $1,000 than your local mutual assistance representative can assist you at that time. 

[Screen text] Question #8: When can we come back home?
Another question I received is when can I return home after I have evacuated? 
Answer #8: The important thing for you to remember is, don’t return until it is safe for you to do so. Once you return back to your home, we stop your entitlements, even if your home doesn’t have power or is unsafe. So, it is important to know if your home is habitable by the time you return. The other question to that would be, when the district commander lifts the evacuation order, which will happen once he is determined that it is safe for you to return to your home.  

If at any point during the evacuation process, you have any questions or immediate concerns, its important you let us know either through PST which we would provide on the mid-Atlantic hurricane evacuation information page or your Ombudsman. Early communication will help us ensure that we can address your needs as soon as possible. 

Capt. Ron Labrec, (USCG, retired) Coast Guard Foundation

Hi, my name is Ron Labrec, and I am the regional director of the philanthropy for the Coast Guard Foundation, in the mid-Atlantic region. 

The Coast Guard Foundation is committed to ensure you and all Coast Guard members have the resources you need to build resilient lives.  

Founded in 1969, we’re a vital partner to the Coast Guard. We tackle the toughest challenges you and your families to ultimately strengthen the Coast Guard community. 

When Coast Guard families face challenging times, the Coast Guard foundation is there. Our emergency support ensures that when disaster strikes, you and your families have the resources needed to bounce back, while continuing to focus on your Coast Guard service. 

We coordinate our response with the vice-commandant’s office and with your district commander as soon as, and even sometimes before a hurricane strikes land. 

This behind the scenes coordination ensures that all ethics and gift rules are followed so you don’t have to do it individually. 

Through our partnership with the Coast Guard Petty Officers Association, we offer emergency relief grants up to $3,000 per Coast Guard member to cover any losses you may have suffered. For example, these may include temporary housing, insurance deductibles, household goods, food, even emergency travel. All you have to do is fill out an application and submit it to the CPOA (Chief Petty Officer’s Association) where it would be reviewed for eligibility.  

The application is on both our websites [ and]. And the response time is pretty quick within 10 days of your application being approved, you will receive your grant. 

Your command master chief will also have information on this grant program or can refer you back to someone here at the foundation or CPOA. 

Coast Guard Foundation emergency support began in 2005 after hurricane Katrina damaged the Gulf Coast. And since then, we have helped Coast Guard families bounce back from hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and mudslides. 

Our goal is to ensure you have the resources you need to take care of things on home front so that you can focus serving your communities. 

Thank you for all you do for the nation. Semper Paratus.