Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command

Meridian Public Works Dept Stays in Lines While Supporting Navy Facilities During COVID-19 Pandemic

05/21/20 03:18 PM

From Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast Public Affairs

MERIDIAN, Miss. (NNS) -- Employees of Public Works Department (PWD) Meridian implemented a new work schedule that has shown positive results in continuing to support military personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One example is the diligent work PWD Meridian employees completed to make repairs to the airfield, allowing student aviators to continue to earn their wings at Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian.

“Our ability to adapt and overcome obstacles on a daily basis during the pandemic, while our workforce has been split in two is truly remarkable,” said NAS Meridian Public Works Officer Lt. Cmdr. Robert McCharen. “We continue to support the Warfighter’s mission by ensuring they can operate in a safe environment.”

The runway edge lines at NAS Meridian have reflective glass beads imbedded in the paint. This is a safety feature that helps pilots see at night. When the paint gets dirty, they become less reflective. Every five years or sooner, crews will paint the runway markings depending on the integrity of the paint. In-between paintings, there is a cost effective solution.

"Pressure washing is a very inexpensive way to brighten up runway edge markings that have become covered in mold without having to develop a contract to repaint the runway, saving almost a million dollars,” said NAS Meridian Airfield Manager William Gaines.  “It also adds to safety of flight, so aircrews can see the runway at greater distances from the airfield while in flight."

Splitting the staff into two teams, helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, if one of the teams does get sick, the mission would face minimum impacts because the healthy team would go back to their original work schedule.

This new work schedule has one of the teams working on Saturdays when the airfield is normally closed, making it easier for PWD Meridian to clean the airfield.

“To date, the workforce has seen an increased productivity rate and we have been able to complete all routine work requests,” said McCharen. “PWD Meridian continues to meet the mission of the installation and has developed a solid plan to continue the support in the future while keeping our team safe and healthy.”



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