b'52 Naples Airport RecoversAPFDISASTER RECOVERYAfter Hurricane IansSaltwater Storm Surge BY JENN DAACK WOOLSONLast September, Category 4 Hurricane Ian entered theThe whole team came together, remarks Gulf of Mexico at high tide and lingered over Naples, FL,Barry Brown, director of Operations and for the better part of a day. Unlike when Hurricane Irma hitMaintenance. We set up our own version of the area five years earlier, this time there was minimal wind damage.an EOC [emergency operations center] and But the storm surge caused flooding from the Gulf of Mexico andmet for 20 or 30 minutes to get our game the Gordon River, which runs along the west side of Naples Airportplan together, then went out and tackled (APF) and connects Naples Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The stormeverything. I cant even tell you how many surge pushed saltwater up from the Gulf and into the airport truckloads of debris we took off the runwaysBARRY BROWNfilling the airfield to a depth of 2 to 4 feet in just 15 minutes. A U.S.and taxiways. It was amazing. Customs camera captured footage of whitecap waves obscuring allBurch describes the response as inspiring: Despite many but the very tops of airfield signs.employees having damage or completely losing their homes or When Zachary Burch, Communityvehicles, everyone just showed upeverybody from maintenance Engagement/Communications manager forand cleaning staff to our FBO and our administrative staff, plus Naples Airport Authority, came into work at 6:00people like me who type for a living.the next morning, there was still a lot of standingUsing the airports two 1,500-gallon fire trucks to wash down water. Thanks to recent drainage systempavement and other surfaces with fresh water was a complete improvements designed and permitted by EGgame-changer, he adds.Solutions, the higher east end of the airfield had dried out more quickly than other areas. ZACHARY BURCH Thanks to the tireless efforts of employees, APF was able to reopen for emergency helicopter landings by noon that day and The Immediate Aftermath for daytime rescue flight operations the following day. Resuming With most of the briny floodwater gone, logs, debris and fish litteredcritical operations was crucial because APF serves as a hub for the airfield.first respondersnot just the fire station and sheriffs department based on the airfield who needed access to planes and helicopters Even though some employees had lost everything in the storm,for search and rescue efforts, but also for local first responders, they rolled up their sleeves to clear the runways, taxiways andtree trimming crews and other crews from the across the U.S. who apron so APF could reopen for passengers. October 2023AirportImprovement.com'