Snow, ice removal remain a mission priority
February 21, 2014
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - It felt like employees and residents on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall had just survived the Jan. 21 snow storm with the highest snow totals on the base and throughout the National Capital Region in the past four years, when Mother Nature brought another batch of winter weather Feb. 12 and 13.
The Office of Personnel Management called for federal government offices to shut down Feb. 13. Still the Directorate of Public Works operations and maintenance personnel were out pre-treating the joint base's main roads, putting out ice-melt on sidewalks and preparing for another snowfall.
Denise Faldowski, operations and maintenance chief for DPW said during inclement weather, each storm is treated as an individual event.
"All bases are treated equally. We have developed priority one, two and three routes and parking areas by committee," she said.
"This is revisited each fall to ensure we will continue to meet the mission. For example, a priority 1 route will need to be clear and travelable at all times during and after a snow event. A priority 3 parking area, such as Tri-Services, may not be cleared until a few days after the storm."
The snow team follows procedures outlined in Army Regulation 420 (Facilities Management).
DPW's O and M and the grounds contractor conduct pre-treatment of road surfaces on JBM-HH prior to expected winter weather. Faldowski said the type of pre-treatment is dependent on the storm coming in.
"If a storm is coming in and it is beginning as snow, we pre-treat with a brine solution. You will know when this has been done because the roads appear to be striped," she said. "If the storm moving in is beginning as rain, we cannot use the brine or salt because it will wash off the surfaces."
She said facility employees can prepare for an on-coming snow/ice storm by making sure they have ice melt on hand. DPW distributes ice melt daily from 1-2 p.m. at JBM-HH's Bldg. 325 on the Fort Myer portion of the joint base and at the same time at the P Street lot on the Fort McNair portion of JBM-HH.
JBM-HH residents can help prior to the storm by moving vehicles to non-priority routes and parking lots.
Faldowski said seven to 10 inches of snow fell on JBM-HH overnight Feb. 13. DPW's O and M snow team worked long hours, plowing major roads and clearing secondary streets, to remove the accumulation.
Anthony Taylor, a JBM-HH DPW supervisor, said the DPW O and M snow team clears roadways and parking areas; the grounds contractor is responsible for sidewalks up to each facility's steps.
The housing contractor is responsible for clearing sidewalks and steps in the residential areas, according to Kevin Fleming, a JBM-HH Executive Management Housing Directorate supervisor.
"Do not attempt to stop one of the plow trucks or heavy equipment during snow/ice removal," said Taylor. "Safety is our priority, and it is difficult to stop these vehicles on icy or snow-packed roads."
Likewise, joint base personnel should never attempt to flag down plow trucks, Fleming said.
DPW's service desk/emergency number, 703-696-3263, can be used to help deploy team members to places that may have been missed or have iced over after being cleared. "This is the best way to ensure your call will be addressed because you will get a service order number," said Faldowski.