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NEWS | Aug. 26, 2014

Returning from a hurricane evacuation? Here's what you need to know

By Senior Airman Kayla Newman 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

As August comes to an end, the heart of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season begins. Three depressions and two hurricanes have occurred so far and U.S. Service members at Joint Base Langley-Eustis should continue to prepare to evacuate the local area if there is a severe storm threat.

An evacuation will be ordered in the event of unusual or emergency circumstances with the installation commander the responsible authority to issuing it. Once personnel assigned to JBLE are given the all-clear to return, there are several things to be aware of when coming home after a mandatory evacuation.

Depending on the severity of the storm, damage to homes and flooding in areas may have occurred. Ensuring the proper precautions are taken can help alleviate any added stressors. According to the American Red Cross, the following are important steps in the process of returning home from an evacuation:

·         If possible, keep children and pets aware from hazards and floodwater.

·         Beware of rodents, snakes, insects and other animals that may be on the property.

·         Before entering a home, ensure there are no damaged power lines, gas lines, foundation cracks or other exterior damage.

·         If the scent of natural gas or propane or a hissing sound can be identified, immediately leave the area and contact the fire department.

·         If a home is flooded, assume it is contaminated with mold. Mold increases health risks for individuals with asthma, allergies and other breathing conditions.

·         Turn the main electrical power and water systems off until a professional can ensure that they are safe.

·         Check the ceiling and floor for signs of sagging. Water can become trapped in ceilings and floors may be unsafe to walk on.

After ensuring home safety, checking on evacuation allowances and entitlements is another vital step post hurricane.  According to the 633rd Comptroller Squadron entitlements briefing, evacuees should consider the following information:

·         The use of the government travel card is authorized and mandated for authorized members. Dependents are not authorized use of the GTC.

·         Military personnel without a GTC and dependents of deployed spouses are entitled to a cash advance.

·         Evacuation orders will identify the minimum and maximum mileage of travel to be reimbursed.

·         Travel that occurs prior to the evacuation authorization will not be reimbursed.

·         Lodging, meals and incidental rates are based on the location of evacuation.

·         Service members will be reimbursed $0.56 per mile.

·         For reimbursement personnel must travel the minimum distance indicated on the official orders.

·         Once returning to JBLE, mass briefings will be scheduled to fill out travel vouchers.

·         Bring all receipts for hotel, airline and any reimbursable expenses to the briefing.

Joint Travel Regulations, volumes one and two, provide guidance for evacuation allowances and can be found at

For more information regarding hurricane evacuations and your return visit,, or contact your Unit Deployment Manager or first sergeant.