Sept. 23, 2020 —
Coast Guard members are Semper Paratus, always ready to respond when a hurricane strikes. As they selflessly serve others, their homes and loved ones are often in the storm’s path. Behind the scenes, a team of dedicated individuals – spanning numerous specialties – stand ready to ensure that our Coast Guard heroes and their incredible families are always supported, too!
Ms. Lori Carrington has a long history with the Coast Guard – first serving on active duty for over 20 years, and then continuing as a civilian employee. While on active duty, she spent time in the Seventh District – an area prone to hurricanes. It was there that she first interacted with ombudsmen and learned how beneficial they are.
Carrington is now the Atlantic Area Regional Ombudsman Coordinator and spends her days (and a lot of nights) supporting ombudsmen and advocating for the needs of Coast Guard members and families. The Ombudsman Program ensures that families have access to people who care, resources to support, and the information they need.
Carrington spends months preparing for hurricane season – training ombudsmen, advising decision makers, and developing best practices.
“I want families to know that they aren’t alone. When in doubt, reach out! There’s a whole team available to support you,” Carrington said.
Capt. Michael Paradise, commanding officer of Base New Orleans, is part of a team working diligently to support those who have been impacted by hurricanes this busy season.
“Numerous Coast Guard families have been displaced and seven families are facing catastrophic damage to their homes,” Paradise said. “Our Eighth District Commander’s highest priority is our people – Admiral Nadeau wants to ensure that our people and their families are fully taken care of in the aftermath of the storm.”
It is estimated that essential services, including water, electric, and sewer, will take weeks to restore in some locations.
Resources for members and families impacted by hurricanes include:
Evacuation and Weather Information
- District 8 People Cell number is available 24/7 at 757-816-3965 to track the storm’s impact on Coast Guard personnel and their families (damage to homes/property, evacuation status, etc.) and to coordinate assistance for impacted members and families. Coast Guard members and families who are in need of support due to hurricane related damage can contact the People Cell to access resources and support services.
Travel & Lodging
- A virtual Personnel Support Team (PST) is available 24/7 at 1-833-USCG-PST (1-833-872-4778) to provide assistance with evacuation orders, entitlements, and travel claims. In-person PSTs are available at Marine Safety Unit (MSU) Port Arthur and at the government contracted hotel sites in the Houston area. These teams also offer Coast Guard Mutual Assistance financial support and are able to coordinate with other support teams to obtain additional services for evacuated personnel and their families. There is also a Legal Support Team (LST) embedded with the team in the Houston contracted hotels.
- Your Coast Guard Housing Officer is available to provide housing related guidance and support.
Ombudsmen & Family
- Ombudsmen are official points of contact for Coast Guard families, serve as liaisons between the command and unit families, provide information and resource referrals, and act as advocates for family members. Contact your unit Ombudsman on the Ombudsman Registry. Tip: When contacting your Ombudsmen, request to be added to their distribution list to stay up-to-date on important messaging and resources.
- The Coast Guard Foundation has partnered with the Chief Petty Officers Association (CPOA) to offer grants for personal loss and basic needs, including replacement and repair of household goods, food and necessities, insurance deductibles, temporary housing, and emergency travel.
- Coast Guard Mutual Assistance is the official relief society of the U.S. Coast Guard. Financial assistance is available to those impacted by hurricanes.
- Continuity of medical care is of extreme importance. TRICARE has authorized referral waivers for some beneficiaries.
- Chaplains care for Coast Guard members and families with dignity, respect and compassion, regardless of an individual's beliefs, and provide informed and professional referrals. Chaplains also provide confidential counseling (including counseling for stress and relationships). Don't hesitate to reach out!
- Coast Guard Legal Assistance Attorneys provide advice and counsel regarding personal legal issues at no cost.
- Disasters are stressful, but help is available! CG SUPRT provides a variety of free support services, including confidential professional counseling. Visit www.CGSUPRT.com or call 855-247-8778 to access services.
- Download the USCG HSWL Mobile App to easily access information on Coast Guard support programs and services.
- Looking for local community resources and support services? Dial 211 or visit www.211.org to access help 24/7.