Reservist

ISS4 2017

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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T he Coast Guard National Command Center (NCC) maintains situational awareness of all major Coast Guard operations worldwide and all significant activities with potential Coast Guard or Department of Homeland Security interest. NCC employs ten reservists as qualified duty officers who stand 12- hour watches. They drill alongside the active duty counterparts and represent a diverse array of civilian occupations. Most importantly, they pride themselves on being indistinguishable from the active duty watchstanders. Following the landfall of Hurricane H ARVEY in late August, NCC reservists were involuntarily recalled for active duty on Title 14 orders. At this point, Hurricane HARVEY had caused massive flooding in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas, and the Coast Guard was conducting urban search and rescue in those affected areas. The public had turned to social media to find phone numbers for emergency assistance, which ultimately led to an unprecedented number of phone calls to the Coast Guard. Five NCC reservists took over the call center at Coast Guard Headquarters, which was taking and triaging phone calls for Sector Houston-Galveston and Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur. The reservists became the watch captains, managing more than 300 military and civilian volunteers. They provided consistency, continuity and training for the volunteers, and they made quick decisions, triaging cases and working with units to coordinate responses. When Hurricane I RMA hit a few weeks later, the reservists stood up another call center. Using lessons learned, they worked to create checklists and job aids, researched phone numbers and developed standard operating procedures. At first, the call center took overflow calls from the Coast Guard District Seven command center, which was located in a continuity of operations (COOP) site in St. Louis. Word soon spread on social media sites, and the call center flooded with requests for wellness checks for Irma survivors. NCC's reservists once again assumed leadership roles, handling thousands of calls that had been taken by 160 military and civilian volunteers over four days. Reservists are vital force multipliers to the National Command Center. They led two call centers that fielded nearly 10,000 calls and directly assisted over 30,000 people and their pets. Overall, these call centers provided peace of mind to those that needed a compassionate professional on the other end of the line during a perilous situation. � Ready for the Call r eservists respond to back to back to back h urricanes s tory and photos by l t. j onathan h sieh The call center at Coast Guard Headquarters, which was taking and triaging phone calls of wellness checks and information assistance for i rma survivors. Issue 4 • 2017 � RESERVIST 19

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