Joint Region Marianas ready to defend NMI—Chatfield

Joint Region Marianas commander Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield and U.S. National Weather Service Forecast Office in Guam warning coordination meteorologist Charles “Chip” Guard pose with Saipan Mayor David Apatang, House Speaker Ralph Demapan, some lawmakers, government officials and members of private sector during the #liveprepared CNMI event held yesterday at the CNMI Operations Center on Capital Hill. At the event, lawmakers also awarded Guard with a House commemorative resolution for his outstanding contributions to the CNMI. (Ferdie de la Torre)

Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield, who leads the Joint Region Marianas as its commander, assured Tuesday that Joint Region Marianas is ready to defend the CNMI community against all hazards.

“Joint Region Marianas, the Department of Defense is always ready to support the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in times of crisis even if you don’t see us every day,” said Chatfield in her capability briefing Tuesday at the CNMI Operations Center on Capital Hill.

Chatfield was the speaker at the #liveprepared CNMI event conducted by the CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management as part of Commonwealth Preparedness Month.

Charles “Chip” Guard, the U.S. National Weather Service meteorologist in Guam, also discussed the weather outlook for the rest of 2017.

Chatfield said that what people may not be aware of and what they don’t often get a chance to talk about is the high readiness that is maintained by the U.S. military in Guam.

“And that readiness extends to the CNMI,” Chatfield said, adding that the U.S. Department of Defense is committed to the safety and protection of everyone.

She cited HSEM’s emergency preparedness plan for the community as an important part of helping maintain that state of readiness.

Joint Region Marianas would not be able to maintain that state of readiness without all of the activities they do here in the CNMI, Chatfield said.

She said the military remains diligent in its national defense planning efforts.

“And we’re supported very well by the Commonwealth,” Chatfield added, underscoring the importance of the CNMI in U.S. history and national defense.

She said this partnership with the CNMI in readiness and national defense is deeply rooted and thanked the CNMI for its continued efforts to maintain a robust partnership.

Chatfield said an app project by the HSEM will help distribute accurate local information and a tool to help communicate with family in the event of a weather emergency.

In an interview later, Chatfield said that people need to focus on their own preparedness, then their family’s preparedness, and the community’s preparedness. “It’s always good to have a family plan,” she said.

Having a backup plan to communicate with family members in case of a power outage would be very helpful, she said.

She pointed out that first responders at the CNMI Emergency Operations Center are knowledgeable about the community.

In his brief remarks, Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres cited Typhoon Soudelor’s destruction on Saipan in 2015 to stress the importance of having federal partners during disasters.

He urged people to take seriously all government’s emergency notices.

HSEM planner Nadine Deleon Guerrero said in an interview that they have several projects that they have been working on in the last three weeks.

“We are very proud and happy and excited to deliver it to the Marianas today,” Deleon Guerrero said.

One of those projects is an emergency preparedness app that is going to be available for download either at the end of the month or first week of October.

Deleon Guerrero said they also worked on a 90-second commercial project featuring Torres and key members of the community talking about emergency preparedness.

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Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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