By By Drew Hamilton (Missile Ranger, WSMR, NM)January 8, 2010
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, NM, Jan. 7, 2010- White Sands Missile Range housing residents may have to wait a while before all community facilities are reopened as housing recovers from the damage caused by the recent wind storm.
At a Dec. 17 town hall meeting, representatives from Balfour Beatty Communities said they are working to repair all wind damage as quickly as possible. Deborah O'Brien, a community manager with Balfour Beatty, explained that roofers are inspecting on post housing for damage. Broken windows are already being replaced. Residents and facilities with large windows may have to wait as a special contractor will have to be brought in to replace those windows. Residents with broken windows of any size should report them if they have not done so already.
A number of trash cans were reported as having been damaged or blown away during the high winds. At this time there is a shortage of replacement trash cans, so until new trash cans arrive some residents will have to use broken ones. The facilities that will experience the biggest delays are expected to be the playgrounds, which must be inspected by a qualified inspector before they can be used.
Garrison Commander Col. Chris Wicker talked about clean-up plans for the Plans, Training and Mobilization building. Wing gusts that reached or exceeded hurricane force tore the roof off the building the morning of Dec. 8. While debris from the damaged roof did not cause any additional damage, the presence of asbestos in the material has required that precautions be taken to avoid exposing WSMR residents to the material. "Most of that material is still in the building and has been taped off," Wicker said. Materials that had separated from the building during the storm were watered regularly to prevent asbestos particles from becoming airborne and cleanup crews began scrapping up the debris the week following the town hall meeting.
Jacob McDonald, a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and High Yield Explosives Expert with DPTMS, gave a quick presentation on the Army Readiness Program. While the wind storm was not as devastating as most natural disasters, he said the recent wind storm served as a reminder to all Army families about the importance of being prepared. "When it comes to emergencies, the Army stresses that you be prepared," McDonald said, stressing that everyone in the family should know their emergency plan. McDonald's next point was a reminder to stay informed, both about any possible emergencies, and how the community is supposed to respond to it. "You have to know what the signals are and what to do," McDonald said. Finally, McDonald reminded residents that they should all have an emergency supply kit. "If you have a kit, a plan and stay informed, you should be ok in an emergency," he said.
In closing, O'Brien announced the following community activities: International Cooking Classes with Tara Saunders will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday throughout January and February. The national dress up your pet day contest will be held at the community management office from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 14. A Guess the Kisses in the candy Jar contest is being held at the community management office.