Software simplifies evacuation tracking
January 28, 2009
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A software upgrade will allow emergency workers at Tokyo-area bases to track civilians better during evacuations, U.S. Naval Forces Japan and Defense Department officials said Wednesday.
The Noncombatant Evacuation Operation Tracking System’s upgrade should allow users to process information on evacuees quickly, said Geoffrey Norton, systems engineer for the Defense Manpower Data Center in Seaside, Calif.
"It should take a couple of minutes, as long as the [evacuees] have what they need to be processed," Norton said.
Noncombatants should bring a legal identification document in order to be logged into the system during an evacuation, said logistics officer Lt. Cmdr. Brett Sandman.
Dogs and cats in pet carriers can be tracked through the Windows-based system, but luggage cannot, Sandman said.
Each person or pet receives a bar-coded bracelet. When scanned at the next destination, the noncombatant’s identifying information should then be retrieved from a database.
The tracking system is in use at installations worldwide, but this week was the first time local servicemembers used the new software.
About 30 people representing bases at Yokosuka, Yokota Air Base and Atsugi Naval Air Station participated, Sandman said.
The systems trainers will also be at Yokota next week to introduce the upgrade. Camp Zama officials will be at the air base next week as well.
U.S. Naval Forces Japan has no noncombatant evacuation drills scheduled at the moment but could opt to stage one in the future, Sandman said.
U.S. Forces Korea stages evacuation drills semi-annually for non-emergency essential personnel.