21 Lessons Learned Help Fort Hood Prepare for Winter Storm | Item


Snow and ice cover much of the residential areas, as well as the rest of the installation, at Fort Hood, Texas, on February 4. A two-day winter storm shut down Fort Hood as freezing temperatures turned precipitation into a wintry mix of ice and snow. .
(Photo credit: photo courtesy of Kellilyn Hill)


FORT HOOD, TX- The Fort Hood Public Works Branch and Fort Hood Family Housing learned lessons from Winter Storm Uri a year ago to guide them through this year’s winter storm, which hit the facility on 3 and 4 February.

“Obviously the storm wasn’t that severe,” said Brian Dosa, Fort Hood DPW manager. “Based on winter storm Uri a year ago, we learned a few lessons and improved, so we were much better prepared this year for another winter storm.”

After leading the DPW’s clearing efforts during the 2021 Uri winter storm, Roads and Land Supervisor Jose Ancira knew which areas were most susceptible to ice, so he was able to quickly target areas around Fort Hood. The crew put a layer of chatter on heavily icy areas on Tank Destroyer Boulevard, Clear Creek roads, several overpasses and gates.

Chat is a mixture of salt and sand that is applied to the roads. Ancira explained that sand provides grip on icy roads, while salt helps melt ice. Because they knew the main areas to target, there was no unnecessary chatter. They also didn’t have to worry about the chat being difficult to use this year.

Dosa and Ancira explained that last year the cat had been stored in the elements, which caused him to become wet and frozen, which made him difficult to use. This year, however, they’ve created a canopy to store the cat, so it’s not as exposed to the elements.

“Conditions weren’t as bad as last year but it happened and hit us that night so I think Friday morning was worse than Thursday,” Ancira added. “We were able to clear many major roads on Thursday. Friday morning was slick so we went through and did some things we learned from last year.

Despite the freezing temperatures, Dosa said it was pretty quiet at the order desk. To prevent their employees from having to drive in unsafe conditions, they set up accommodation at DPW for people who would work.

winter weather

Very little traffic is seen on TJ Mills Boulevard, a major thoroughfare in Fort Hood, Texas, during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. Postal officials said lessons learned from that week-long freeze had them helped prepare for the two-day storm that hit Fort Hood February 3-4.
(Photo credit: Dave Larsen, Fort Hood Public Affairs)


“We were prepared for a significant volume of calls, but it was quite limited,” added Dosa. “We had a few heat calls, a few water breaks, but not too many considering how cold it was.”

Dosa said the only damage Fort Hood sustained was a few water main breaks at Courses of Clear Creek and the barracks. To prevent even more water main breaks, Dosa said she worked with the Fort Hood Fire Department and units to disconnect sprinkler systems at motor pools before the winter storm. By draining the water lines, there was no water in the sprinkler systems to freeze.

“The unit had a responsibility to come out and check the facility more frequently and make sure there was no fire,” he said. “It also saved us many broken pipes at Hood’s Army Heliport.”

Ancira said he was also grateful that the residents of Fort Hood heeded the Fort Hood commander’s advice to stay home. He said he believed there were fewer accidents on the roads because people listened.

Chris Albus, project director for Fort Hood Family Housing, said they learned many lessons from winter storm Uri, which they used to focus on preparedness and education.

“Going into the winter season, we communicated with residents through our various communication platforms and provided them with advice on how to prepare and protect their homes in cold weather and in the event of a winter storm,” Albus said. . “With the health and safety of our residents being a number one priority, we have developed a winter weather pre-check list as a helpful tool for residents, covering how to prepare their vehicles, home, items to make sure they have on hand, and more, so they can be prepared for a winter emergency.

Stay at home

This view of a residential area in Fort Hood, Texas on Feb. 4 shows no moving traffic following a two-day winter storm that shut down the facility. Fort Hood Public Works Branch Roads and Grounds Team Supervisor Jose Ancira said residents of the stations were leading warnings to stay home and off frozen streets, which helped prevent accidents.
(Photo credit: Jennifer Ilarraza, Fort Hood Residents Advisory Council)


To help prepare for this year’s winter storm, Albus said he identified three maintenance crews, who remained at Fort Hood throughout the storm to assist with 24/7 emergency maintenance operations. 7. Crews were positioned to the east, west and south of the facility to avoid any road closures they might have encountered.

“We bought tire chains for our vehicles to use in case traction on the roads became an issue,” Albus said. “Additionally, to ensure we were ready to relocate residents to temporary housing, if needed, we ensured hospitality suites were ready and worked with our on-site lodging partner, IHG Army Hotels. , for help with hotel rooms. Fortunately, no move was necessary.

To ensure residents were prepared for the storm, the Fort Hood Residents’ Advisory Council created winter safety videos on a variety of topics. Fort Hood Family Housing also placed winter weather signs at neighborhood entrances about winter preparation, including how to contact emergency maintenance.

“We only received nine emergency calls and 39 storm-related urgent calls due to water leaks, frozen pipes, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) repairs, and roof repairs,” Albus said. “These numbers are in line with what we would typically have experienced during a severe weather event, such as heavy rain, and our teams did a fantastic job responding and serving residents in difficult conditions over the weekend. -end. Thanks to our quick actions and preparations, we were able to respond quickly to residents to ensure their homes were safe and supported and to mitigate any displacement so they could stay comfortably in their homes.


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