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NEWS | Aug. 26, 2020

COVID Communication: Shipyard Sign Shop produces pandemic response products

By Wendy Hallmark, PSNS & IMF

The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility Sign Shop has played an important role in the command’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sign Shop team has produced thousands of COVID-19 related products since March, ensuring all employees receive the most important and often changing information.

“It has been critical for the command’s message to reach everyone,” said Dean Henderson, Shop 71, Sign Shop, supervisor. “The Protective Triad can only be effective if it’s understood and when the guidelines are followed. Our job has been to get that message out for everyone to see. That’s meant a lot of sign making.”

According to Henderson, the Sign Shop has printed thousands of signs as part of the command’s response to COVID-19. Printed materials are especially important at PSNS & IMF, where a large portion of the workforce does not have reliable access to computers or email.

Henderson and his team printed all of the COVID-related signage required for gates, buildings and worksites, including hangouts and dry docks, along with billboards, cards and stickers. When the shipyard receives updated guidance from federal, state or local officials, the Sign Shop updates and reprints the materials.

“The number of signs and other items is in the thousands, and the required response time is immediate,” explained Henderson.

Henderson attributed most of the Sign Shop’s efforts to a group of about 10 people who have been focused on this effort since March. “This has been, and will be, an ongoing effort for a while,” he said. “I wish I could list the name of every person who has been involved with this work because it has truly been a tremendous effort and they deserve the recognition.”

“When processing some of the larger orders, we had extra support from a wide range of personnel,” he said. “Several members of the core group have rotated to different crews now, but there are still four or five who have been involved the entire time.”

Shop 71 Plannerman Frederick Baker was assigned to the Sign Shop when the team needed extra help to ensure resources were available for sign production.

“Getting information dispersed quickly is necessary in a situation like this,” he explained.

Baker said the Sign Shop has always supported PSNS & IMF’s emergent printing needs, but the pandemic created special circumstances and an increased sense of urgency.

“Making sure the information is available and getting it posted quickly is vital to our success,” he added. “It’s a very good feeling to see the Sign Shop team work so well together. Dean has a great team of highly motivated, hardworking individuals and I am proud to be able to be a part of Mr. Henderson’s Sign Shop team.”

James Kelley, a long-time employee of the Sign Shop, was proud of the teamwork displayed during this unexpected crisis.

“We all have each other’s back,” he said. “The Sign Shop is a crucial part of communications to everyone on the waterfront, and working on these products helped me learn how important it is to keep in mind the Protective Triad at work and at home.”