News>Dover AFB personnel’s preparation key to weathering the storm
Airman 1st Class Richard Stratton, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron, and Senior Airman Robert Fitch, 436th Aerial Port Squadron, collect sandbags from outside of Building 502 Oct. 30, 2012, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The sandbags were placed at entrances around the base in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Adrian R. Rowan)
A tree was uprooted in base housing Oct. 30, 2012, on Dover Air Force Base, Del., as a result of the high wind and heavy rainfall from Superstorm Sandy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Jeanette Spain)
by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
10/30/2012 - Dover Air Force Base, Del. -- Diligent preparation and a proactive approach during Superstorm Sandy ensured Dover Air Force Base, Del., recovered quickly and the airfield reopened at 11 a.m., Oct. 30, 2012.
Tech. Sgt. Brian Lawrence, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron safety and vehicle control officer, said that preparations for the storm started on Oct. 24 and really kicked into gear Oct. 27.
"That level of preparation is necessary for this type of situation," he said. "We have a lot of great team players here and we operate very well together."
Lawrence said that civil engineering personnel went over the base with a fine-tooth comb to ensure everything was ready to weather the storm. He said great care was taken to avoid any possible safety issues.
"Flying debris is the main thing we wanted to avoid," the native of Elk Mound, Wis., said. "We are trying to safeguard the area by securing everything and tying everything possible to the ground."
The sergeant said that the danger of flooding ended up being the biggest challenge the civil engineers faced.
"We had a lot of issues with water drainage, he said. "With it being fall, we had a lot of leaves backing up our storm drains. We stayed on top of the issue with our street sweepers and the roads were clean prior to the storm hitting."
Senior Master Sgt. John Tingle, 436th CES operations flight superintendent, was one of the 38 people who were part of the 436th CES ride out team. He said that even with the preparation, the drainage situation deteriorated quickly. He said two street sweepers were being used during the storm in the housing areas to keep the drains clear.
"We did a lot of riding around the base and proactively fixing problems as they occurred," he said.
Tingle, who grew up at New Bern, N.C., said that previous emergencies have taught the civil engineers to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
"One of the main things we learned is not to worry about exactly where the storm is going to hit," he said. "We need to prepare for the worst case scenario possible. It is our mission to maintain, prepare and recover the base through any challenge."
Lawrence said the civil engineers came together like a fined-tuned machine and were also helped by personnel from other squadrons.
"We had 21 volunteers before the storm and we had a lot of great support from the wing," he said. "They came to us ready to work and with a great attitude."
Dover Air Force Base is scheduled to return to normal operations Oct. 31, 2012.