U.S. Department of Defense

07/07/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/07/2020 06:41

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Uses Misting Disinfectant to Protect Employees

During the early stages of combating the spread of COVID-19 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia, many people stepped up to provide innovative, safe solutions that would help ensure the safety of employees. One such group was the Facilities Support Branch (Code 985), which was enlisted to help address high-traffic and high-touch areas in need of regular disinfecting.

High Traffic Sanitizing
Contractor Derek Lankford mists the turnstiles with disinfectant at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Va., as part of an effort to sanitize high-traffic areas to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Photo By: Aldo Anderson, Navy
VIRIN: 200417-O-SY521-408

''We have areas like drydock handrails, turnstiles and break rooms that are constantly in use,'' said Caleb Steckmann, a facilities support engineer. ''The safety of our employees is our No. 1 priority, and we wanted to establish something that could directly help those who were continuing to serve our mission and utilizing these high-traffic areas.''

In an emergent response to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19, Code 985 employees worked with a local contractor that specializes in environmental cleaning to begin applying preventive misting and disinfectants to high-traffic areas. For four weeks, Code 985 worked diligently with contractor personnel, escorting, scheduling and collecting pertinent data to work on providing the safest environment possible for shipyard employees.

Disinfecting Mist
Contractors Derek Lankford and Keith Gorman mist a break room at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Va., to sanitize the space as part of an effort to protect the workforce against the spread of COVID-19.
Photo By: Aldo Anderson, Navy
VIRIN: 200417-N-SY521-247

''The initial response team included those from the contracting company; as well as Code 985 employees - facilities support engineers Joseph Marousas, Caleb Steckmann and myself,'' said Bobby Truitt, the TF-1 program manager. ''We worked as a unit, making sure these areas were continuously addressed and handled so 'America's Shipyard' could keep moving forward while remaining as safe as possible.''

Because of their response and the data they collected, he added, Naval Facilities expanded the cleaning contracts to include preventive disinfecting.

Turnstile Line
Left to right: Contractors Keith Gorman and Derek Lankford; TF-1 program manager Bobby Truit; and facilities support engineers Joseph Marousas and Caleb Steckmann team up to mist and sanitize high-traffic areas at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Va., to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Photo By: Aldo Anderson, Navy
VIRIN: 200417-N-SY521-529

''We exhibit our CORE values - Care, Ownership, Respect and Excellence - in everything we do here,'' Marousas said. ''We wanted to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 any way we could. We wanted to help minimize the spread while maximizing the mission.''

Because the shipyard needs to continue to serve the fleet and the nation, he said, taking care of its people is paramount.

(Kristi R. Britt is assigned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard.)