200605AZW5010101.jpgFort Jackson Department of Public Works employees Jerry Harmon and Lisa Prioleau modified some of their basic property and playground inspection routines because of COVID-19 while still getting their missions accomplished. (Photo by Ron Lester)

By Leslie Ann Sully                                                                                                                                                                                         Fort Jackson Public Affairs

The Garrison Housing Office and their partners, Fort Jackson Family Homes, have been working diligently to prepare homes for new arrivals during the Permanent Change of Station season.

“Garrison Housing Office’s quality assurance inspectors’ duties include inspecting homes before assignment, work order follow up, property and playground inspections,” said Fort Jackson Housing Division Chief Emma Watson. “Both Jerry Harmon and Lisa Prioleau, our QA inspectors, modified some of their basic routines due to COVID-19 while still getting their jobs accomplished. “

Harmon, a Fort Jackson Department of Public Works employee for more than 10 years, started in the DPW Electrical Shop and now works in housing department. Before joining the civil service, he worked in housing as a contractor for 12 years. Prioleau has been a housing management and quality assurance inspector since October 2019.

The pandemic hasn’t kept the inspectors from accomplishing their duties.

“The changes to work under COVID-19 is wearing a mask and gloves and keep social distances – no close contact,” Harmon said. Early on, garrisons throughout the Department of Defense added these measures to protect both the residents and the workforce.

Also the housing office, like so many on Fort Jackson, started workers on a telework schedule. Jerry and Lisa are still alternating days in the office and teleworking. “On average, we conduct four to five inspections per day,” Harmon said.

The QA Inspectors use a five page government checklist when working on properties. First the occupant vacates home, next Fort Jackson Family Homes personnel conduct any work that is needed and then the housing inspector makes a GHO maintenance check.

"Our job is to inspect the units to make sure they are safe and sanitized for service members to live," Prioleau said.

The checklist includes a heat and air unit inspection, test of the plumbing to ensure there are no leaks, the flooring in the home is clean and get the carpet replaced if needed, the paint is good both inside and out. The outside is also included in the walk through. The outside of the home should be clean and pressure washed to include the windows and the yard should have no holes with mulch in place and exterior items must be in working order.

“We check all appliance, fixtures and devices inside the home to ensure they are ready for the occupant-from the ridge cap to the foundation we inspect the home,” Harmon said.

The inspectors look throughout the housing areas and not just inside individual buildings.

"If we spot a tree fallen or a dangerous sink hole in the ground, or any other potential danger, we immediately inform our partners, Fort Jackson Family Homes, who will follow up and take corrective actions," Harmon said.

Playground inspections are different now.

"Because of the pandemic, the playgrounds are restricted and we have to ensure they are taped-off to prevent the children from playing on the grounds,” Prioleau said. “If the tape has been removed, Fort Jackson Family Homes is notified to replace it immediately."

Normally, the team checks to see if everything is ascetically and mechanically sound and safe for the children to play on. They will perform this inspection before re-opening of the playgrounds.

Harmon is humble about his work and prefers it speak for him.

“I don’t want any attention, I get a paycheck for that,” he said.

Housing has more members than the QA inspector working together for the common goal.

“Right now, we are in the season where a lot of people moving in and out--we are in a busy season,” Harmon said and he gives credit to the whole office. “We have a great and well experienced office staff who are always willing and ready to assist our occupants’ needs.”