Garrison maintains mission readiness as snowstorm blankets post

The Fort Campbell Directorate of Public Works’ Roads and Grounds crew cleared roadways across the cantonment area Jan. 6 after a 3.3-inch snowstorm. The installation remained open for limited and essential operations Jan. 6 and 7 as a result of the weather conditions.

After Fort Campbell received 3.3 inches of precipitation during a midweek snowstorm, the installation remained open for limited and essential operations Jan. 6 and 7 as personnel worked to clear the roadways.

Master Sergeant Zachary Ferguson, garrison weather noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Detachment 4, 18th Combat Weather Squadron, said the snowfall began at approximately 8:30 a.m. Jan. 6 and continued until 7:30 p.m. the same day.

Although the precipitation left roadways across post impassable and blanketed Campbell Army Airfield in snow, the installation synchronized its response through the Crisis Action Team, an emergency task force made up of leaders and decision-makers from across post.

“The Crisis Action Team and the Emergency Operations Center were discussing this two to three days out in anticipation of the weather coming in,” Ferguson said. “And there was talk among the garrison leadership teams as to what would be the most appropriate way to handle the snowstorm.”

CAT members representing post personnel, services, facilities, housing, schools and information worked together to ensure the safety and well-being of the post community.

“We conduct numerous exercises annually to prepare for emergencies like this, so when the real-world event does happen we are ready to execute our mission. It is a huge team effort and our preparedness enhanced our ability to quickly mobilize, respond and recover,” said Brian Carrigan, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security chief of operations.

Garrison employees with the Directorate of Public Works took point on the response to the weather event, working for multiple days to keep Campbell Army Airfield operational and to clear roadways across the cantonment area.

“Roads and Grounds plays a critical role in snow and ice operations by ensuring that Soldiers, Families of those Soldiers and all employees who work on post remain safe,” said Jonathan Turner, chief, Roads and Grounds, DPW. “We start by preparing for winter weather well in advance of the first snowflake.”

That means conducting multiple safety meetings ahead of a weather event to coordinate work schedules, conduct a job hazard analysis and ensure readiness when responders take to the icy roads.

“Every operator is well aware of the danger the mission poses, so we can maintain situational awareness throughout the event and continue to protect our employees,” Turner said. “About two days out we started preparing our equipment and doing our preventative maintenance checks and services, or PMCS, and the day before the event we actually pretreated all the routes using brine.”

Roads and Grounds crews worked continuously until the afternoon of Jan. 7, and by that time all routes in the cantonment area were open for vehicle traffic. The Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security’s Range Branch was responsible for clearing routes in the rear area to prevent disruption to Soldiers’ training schedules.

Once it was safe to travel the roads, the installation began responding to workorders such as frozen pipes and sprinkler systems.

“We’ve only had about handful of them,” said Pat Ryan, chief, Operations and Maintenance Division, DPW. “All of them relating back to open doors: stairwell doors being left open or a crawl space door off. If the air freezes a sprinkler head it will pop, and the thing is if there are 14 heads on that system, once one of them goes they all go.”

A broken sprinkler system presents a safety risk in the barracks and can also cause water damage if left unchecked, so Ryan said Soldiers should keep doors and windows closed during winter weather events and quickly report non-emergency issues through the Army Maintenance Application, or ArMA.

Users can access ArMA through the Digital Garrison App or via an online registration portal at https://armymaintenance.com/arma using a common access card.

The application allows residents to communicate directly with service technicians rather than using a barracks manager or supervisor as a go-between.

Users can also include photos, contact numbers and more information with their work order to help workers arrive fully prepared.

“Without the Soldiers’ help, we don’t know there’s a problem” Ryan said. “And using ArMA provides trackability because once they put a work order in, any response our technicians make is sent back to the customer. When they hit ‘complete,’ the customer gets a message saying it’s complete and if they don’t agree they can send the work order right back and reopen it.”

Ryan said the number of workorders submitted was typical of a snowstorm at Fort Campbell, adding that both Soldiers and the garrison workforce did well in mitigating damage to the barracks.

The installation’s overall response was also routine, from raising awareness of the incoming weather through social media and pretreating roadways to mobilizing the garrison workforce after the snow.

“I think all the planning was the most important thing,” Ferguson said. “That was how we were able to properly react when that snow did fall to make sure everyone was safe and informed on post.”