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    Soldiers, Families weather icy blast thanks to coordinated efforts

    Soldiers, Families weather icy blast thanks to coordinated efforts

    Photo By Angie Thorne | Fort Johnson residents were advised to leave their faucets dripping overnigt as...... read more read more



    Story by Angie Thorne 

    Fort Johnson Public Affairs Office

    FORT JOHNSON, La. — Winter Storm Indigo impacted the Fort Johnson community with temperatures below freezing from Jan. 12-20 — many days dipping down into the 20s and teens.
    It’s safe to say Louisiana isn’t used to those kinds of temperatures. The result was power outages and facility closures that tested the installation’s resiliency.
    Before the storm even hit there was a concerted effort by the Fort Johnson Warrior Operation Center, Public Affairs Office and Corvias (Fort Johnson’s housing partner) to disseminate severe weather messaging, equipping residents with essential emergency contacts and valuable safety tips for the challenging weather conditions. As the storm unfolded, critical information continued to be communicated to the Fort Johnson community through email and social media.
    During the storm and in its aftermath, Fort Johnson’s leadership, Directorate of Public Works and Corvias joined forces to ensure a rapid recovery.
    Organizations including DPW Operations and Maintenance, DPW Environmental, Army Housing Office, Corvias and Entergy, combined their efforts to tackle the many issues brought about by the icy weather.
    Corvias maintenance teams worked tirelessly to mend damaged pipes and heating systems within Fort Johnson neighborhoods.
    Tim Courson, Corvias facilities director, said winter weather became an issue on the evening of Jan. 16 and continued through Jan. 21 with freezing temperatures, power outages and frozen pipes putting their staff into 24-hour emergency operations.   
    “Preplanning and actions were successful in Dogwood and Palmetto neighborhoods, but outages hit Maple Terrace leaving 1,130 homes without electricity, HVAC and domestic water. The Fort Johnson Corvias team reacted promptly,  receiving and dispersing over 300 related work orders in 12 hours. Corvias worked 24 hours a day for five days straight and did so with no safety related incidents while still taking care of our normal workloads. Our team truly showed their commitment to our residents and we are extremely proud of every member of the staff,” Courson said.
    Simultaneously, PRIDE Industries maintenance teams took on the challenges of repairing water pipe breaks within garrison facilities.
    DPW’s Operations and Maintenance division made significant progress, successfully completing 179 submitted demand maintenance orders associated with the storm.
    Their efforts included stand by emergency generator preparations, salting and sanding initiatives, isolation and repair of water pipe ruptures and the restoration of facility heating and electrical systems. The proactive and preemptive preparations of the team proved instrumental in minimizing interior facility damage.
    Nathan Jernigan, Fort Johnson director of Public Works, said the directorate of public works teams, in conjunction with their contracted partners, expended numerous man-hours and resources in the recovery efforts of the recent winter storm. 
    “During the near record cold temperatures, these dedicated teams performed with professionalism, expertise and selflessness. They worked around the clock to restore the electrical distribution and facility systems in a safe and timely manner, while minimizing infrastructure damages,” Jernigan said. “The synchronization and actions of garrison directorates and DPW divisions were the key factors that minimized the impacts across the garrison facility and housing portfolios. Clear communication between all organizations during storm preparation, emergency mitigation efforts and recovery and reporting, were the foundation of our success. As with any recovery effort, there are lessons to be learned.  We’ll continue refining our processes and action plans by incorporating those lessons learned and making an even better posture for future installation weather events.”
     Betty M. Beinkemper, chief of the Army Housing Office, said taking care of Families is what they do. 
    “Early morning freezing temps and a wakeup text from Col. Lopez (Fort Johnsons garrison commander) on a downed power line that left all of Maple Terrace / North Fort and portions of South Fort Cantonment without power and heat set in motion the Army Housing Office team. The team visited the installation facilities that were set up to keep our Families warm until the heat and power were returned.  Mr. Bernard Harris is our Maple Housing manager and provided customer service (where to go) and updates to the residents of Maple Terrace.  The AHO responded to all requests for information on Soldiers and Families who reside in Maple Terrace and ensured that all power and heat were restored,” Beinkemper said.


    Date Taken: 01.29.2024
    Date Posted: 01.31.2024 14:02
    Story ID: 462839

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