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Plexiglass upgrade provides LRS drivers protection barrier

bus driver

Henry Kirkpatrick and Tech. Sgt. Johnson, with the 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Maintenance Flight, sit on opposite sides of a plexiglass barrier in a 44-passenger bus at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, May 15, 2020. The 78th LRS Vehicle Maintenance Flight had removable plexiglass walls installed to installation buses to provide a hygiene barrier to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in order to protect drivers and passengers. (courtesy photo)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE Ga. --

As Team Robins members return to their work sections, the threat of the coronavirus is still in the air but the base buses have received an internal upgrade. The 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Maintenance Flight Phoenix Management contractors at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, have installed a removable plexiglass wall to installation buses to provide a hygiene barrier between the passengers and driver.

“Ground Transportation has moved approximately 500 passengers that have been traveling from different parts of the world since the outbreak,” said Master Sgt.  John Turner 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron Ground Transportation noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “The chance of exposure to our operators are increased due to the origins of the passengers that we have moved.”

With the need to move personnel across the base and keep both passengers and drivers safe, 78th LRS leadership turned to their maintenance team for a solution. 

“We installed rear seats and a fake wall of plexiglass into two-multi stop trucks,” said Jason Williams Phoenix Management Incorporated Project and Contract manager. “After this installation, they realized the transportation request had more people than the two multi-stops can hold.”

78th LRS leadership asked their maintenance team to think bigger but their buses are different and required custom fitting.

“The buses we are installing these walls into are leased vehicles and there can be no permanent mounting of any kind to them,” said Williams. “My metals mechanic, Mr. Henry Kirkpatrick, another PMI employee, had to find a way of building this wall so it can be removed.” 

A custom-fit barrier had to be created for each bus.

“It took four days to build the wall,” he said. “Kirkpatrick removed the seats out of a 44-passenger bus and built a fake wall to protect the driver from the rest of the passengers.”

Without the barrier, 78th LRS drivers were at risk to exposure.

“Before installing the barriers, we would have to quarantine the driver for 14 days,” Turner said. “Consequently, due to the reduced risk of exposure, the 14-day quarantine is no longer required and our drivers are able to remain focused on the mission.”

As Team Robins ramps up its return of personnel to their work centers, safety is at the forefront of those efforts.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, PMI and the 78th LRS looked for ways to safeguard our people as they continued to provide their mission essential jobs,” Williams said, “In my opinion, the most valuable asset we have on this installation are the people.”