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January Chief's Perspective

Chief Master Sgt. Dwayne Ayers, the Chief of Emergency Management with the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron

Portrait of U.S Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Dwayne Ayers, the Chief of Emergency Management with the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., July 15, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Ashleigh S. Pavelek)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

Readiness – the state of being fully prepared for something or the willingness to do something. These are only a few meanings of readiness as defined by the dictionary, but what does it mean to you? Anyone who has deployed knows that readiness means having all your boxes checked on your out-processing checklist and that your unit deployment manager says you are good to go. But is that the only place it applies?

What about at home? Is your family ready for you to be gone for several months? Is your power of attorney completed and does it cover everything that it needs to? During one of the many trips I have had in my career, my wife actually had to close on our house. Without a proper power of attorney, this would not have happened. Although from what she told me she will never do that again. Having to sign her name, then sign my name and then finally sign her name that she signed my name. But we were ready and prepared.

What about at your job? Are they ready for you to be out for several months? Have you prepared your boss for you to be gone? Have you trained your replacement to the best of your abilities to ensure they maintain your job properly? Have you done everything that you can to minimize the impact of your absence?

Are these the only places and times that readiness applies? I don’t think so. Recently South Carolina experienced another hurricane. Do you prepare each hurricane season? If you live in the upstate you probably don’t pay that much attention to it. But what about those that live in Charleston, Myrtle Beach or anywhere near the coast? Do you know your evacuation zone? Do you have your evacuation route planned with an alternate route? Do you have an app on your phone to track road closures or traffic delays? Do you have a packing list of what you need to take? Do you know where you are going and where you are staying? These are just a few questions to ask before hurricane season starts.

These are not the only life events to prepare for. You should be ready for something to happen at any time. I was trying to figure out what to write about after I received the email that I had to write this article for the SCANG News. When my wife turned on the TV one morning, the news coverage was all about the mass shooting in a California bar during “college night”. This brings the total mass shootings so far in 2018 to 268 according to Fox News. This doesn’t mean you should stay home and do nothing, but you should be ready to act if need be. When my family and I go out they know I always want to be able to see the door anywhere we go. When we go to a restaurant for dinner I always get the seat where I can see the door and I always look for the closest exit even if it is a window. I do this so that I am ready to make a quick exit in case of an emergency. Some may think I am being paranoid. Am I crazy? Many will probably think so. But am I ready in case of an emergency? According to the definitions I listed in the very first sentence of this article, YES!