If you’re in the path of possible wrath from Hurricane Dorian, here are some quick reminders. (And even if you’re not, consider these tips to help you get ready well before any future natural disaster strikes.)
- Know your emergency procedures. Sign up for community-wide or installation-wide alerts, and follow leaders’ instructions.
- Know your orders. When military family members are traveling with evacuation orders in hand, you’re eligible for certain reimbursements for lodging and meals. There are procedures for submitting requests for travel advances, and for submitting claims.
- During disasters and emergency evacuations, the services and DoD have systems set up to help officials account for their personnel in the areas affected. For disaster and evacuation emergency contact information, visit www.militaryonesource.mil/emergency-contacts-for-disasters-evacuations.
- Fill your vehicle’s gas tank. (And make it a habit in the future to keep at least a half a tank full of gas at all times.) Check the availability of fuel at your exchange gas station on base. But note some bases in the expected area of impact are under evacuation orders, which generally means closures of facilities.
- Get your prescriptions refilled now, if at all possible. If not, there are options.
- Know Tricare’s policies related to health benefits during disasters. Currently, there are temporary emergency refill policies in effect for all counties in Florida, and 12 counties in Georgia, as well as all areas of Puerto Rico and all counties in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Check back at tricare.mil/Resources for updates that will likely happen. These emergency policies are in place through Sept. 6 in Puerto Rico, and through Sept. 9 in the other areas.
This means you can get an emergency refill at any Tricare network pharmacy. It’s best to get the refill at the pharmacy where the prescription was filled, but you can get the refill at any pharmacy in the network. Take your prescription bottle with you.
Tricare beneficiaries not on active duty don’t need a referral to get care from Tricare-authorized urgent care providers. This allows you to get nonemergency care for illnesses or injuries if the primary care provider is unavailable because of weather disruptions, or, for example, you’ve evacuated the area.
Tricare has also temporarily suspended the requirement for a physician referral for Prime and Prime Remote beneficiaries in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, due to Hurricane Dorian. Thus, those who have evacuated from these areas don’t need to get a referral from their primary care provider in order to receive care in the community where they’ve evacuated. This waiver applies until Sept. 30.
- If you still need emergency supplies, check with installation stores. Commissaries have been running specials on a variety of emergency supplies, and will continue to do so through Oct. 31; and they always adjust to add extra storm-related supplies. Commissary officials always work with their suppliers to adjust inventory before and after a storm, said Defense Commissary Agency spokesman Kevin Robinson. Stores in Florida and Georgia have sufficient hurricane supplies to meet customer’s needs.Additional pallets of water came in Thursday, with more scheduled for today, he said. Store officials also work with installation leaders to adjust commissary hours — the commissary at Patrick Air Force Base is staying open until 8 p.m. for the second day to give troops and families extra time to prepare. The exchanges also lay in extra supplies needed for natural disasters. For example, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores had been building inventory on critical emergency supplies including water, batteries, flashlights and generators since earlier this year.
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