Soldiers and Families living or working on post will be impacted by Fort Campbell’s next scheduled electrical outage 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 19 as the installation continues to measure the strength of its power grid.
Affected areas will include the Fort Campbell Exchange and most other Army & Air Force Exchange Service facilities, Fort Campbell Commissary, Fort Campbell Post Office, Fortera Credit Union, Bank of America, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Child Development and School Age Centers.
Housing areas will also be impacted, including Barkers Court, Cole Park, Drennan Park, New Drennan Park, Gardner Hills, Hammond Heights, New Hammond Heights, Harper Village, Stryker Village, The Woodlands, Turner Loop, Werner Park, and Old Werner Park.
“The importance of this is to ensure that our power grid is verified and validated, and that we can quickly restore power in the event of an emergency,” said Patrick Jones, plans specialist, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, or DPTMS. “We have a lot of assets on Fort Campbell that are critical to power projection, and this is to ensure that we can deploy forces anywhere in the world even if our prime power were cut.”
Jones said the scheduled outage is the last in a series of Department of Defense-mandated tests the installation began in August. The three previous outages each focused on one substation, but the fourth exercise was delayed twice because of cold temperatures – prompting DPTMS to finish the process with a more widespread outage to avoid impacting anyone on post over the holidays.
“We pushed it back to a start time of 10 a.m. to hopefully ensure the weather is warm enough for us to conduct the exercise,” Jones said. “There is a possibility that it could be canceled, but we won’t know until that morning. We’ll do a conditions check, and if the weather is above freezing temperature the exercise will be conducted as planned.”
In the event of a weather delay, DPTMS intends to conduct the outage 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 21. The Army Community Service Exceptional Family Member Program, or ACS-EFMP, is reaching out to those who will be most impacted.
“Housing residents who have any type of support device for a medical condition that’s powered by electricity, that’s our target audience,” said Felicia Jefferson, supervisor, ACS-EFMP.
Establishing a list of residents who might experience problems is one of the steps the garrison is taking to mitigate the potential effects of the power outages.
Jefferson said those seeking assistance from EFMP can call 270-798-2727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soldiers who have EFMP Family members should ensure their chain of command is aware of their status.
EFMP Family members can also make sure they have extra batteries or a way to fully charge their devices before the outage said Dwight Smith, the former chief of plans and protection, DPTMS, in a previous interview with the Fort Campbell Courier. Other residents may not need as much time to prepare, but there are still steps they can take.
“Don’t open refrigerators or freezers if you don’t have to so things inside stay cold,” Smith said. “And make sure you have an emergency kit with flashlights, a battery pack so you can charge your cellphone and things like that.”
Soldiers and Families should also plan ahead to make sure the disruption to on-post services affects them as little as possible, Jones said.
Parents who use Child and Youth Services facilities should be aware CYS staff is required to contact parents to pick up their children if the temperature inside the centers drops below 68 degrees or if the power is out for more than two hours,, said Melissa Schaffner, chief of Nonappropriated Funds Support for DFMWR.
“We hope that neither of these situations occur during this exercise, but it is a possibility, just as if we were experiencing an unplanned power outage,” Schaffner said. “We want to encourage parents to think about what is best for their Family when sending their children to child care and school age care on this date. Perhaps they may wish to consider keeping their children home or picking them up early. We will be prepared to serve a nutritious cold lunch in our centers during this exercise.”
A majority of the traffic lights in the installation’s central area will also be without power during the outage, and Jones said drivers will need to treat those intersections as four-way stops.
After evaluating the results of the mini-exercise and implementing changes, the installation is scheduled to conduct a full-scale outage in early March 2023.
“This will be an exercise where we will have an external evaluation team from the Army Corps of Engineers that will come to Fort Campbell to monitor and assess how we react and how our backup power operates,” Jones said.