FEMA reevaluates AAFB as potential emergency site

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Trenton Jancze
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency visited Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma to reevaluate the base as an emergency staging site in case of a natural disaster in Southwestern Oklahoma, December 16, 2021. 

FEMA reevaluates various staging sites throughout Oklahoma every three years.

The team that visited Altus AFB included three representatives from FEMA Region 6, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Dustin Ripley, Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer to Arkansas, and U.S. Army Col. Francesca McFadden, EPLO to Oklahoma. 

FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during and after disasters. This process is part of the preparedness portion of that mission.

“We want to make sure that we are overprepared,” said Ripley. “That’s where you all come in, assisting us to be able to strategically plan and place assets.” 

Samuel Hawkins, 97th Civil Engineer Squadron installation emergency manager, said the visit is important to not only get eyes on the potential staging area, but also meet people. 

“This visit is to validate this location, but it’s important to put names to faces too,” said Samuel Hawkins, 97th Civil Engineer Squadron installation emergency manager. “The locations don’t change, the people do.”

If a disaster hits Southwest Oklahoma, FEMA could stage an operation on Altus AFB and be able to reach anyone who needs help within a two hour radius.