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PCS season: Nothing says summer like packing tape, moving trucks

FORT CARSON, Colo. – A contracted packer loads a stack of boxes onto a moving truck May 12. Movers contracted by the Department of Defense are responsible for the wrapping, boxing, packing and shipping of a service member’s household goods. Additionally, these moving companies are liable for goods lost or damaged during a move, whereas service members who opt for a do-it-yourself move are solely responsible for their property. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. J. Aaron Breeden)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – A contracted packer loads a stack of boxes onto a moving truck May 12. Movers contracted by the Department of Defense are responsible for the wrapping, boxing, packing and shipping of a service member’s household goods. Additionally, these moving companies are liable for goods lost or damaged during a move, whereas service members who opt for a do-it-yourself move are solely responsible for their property. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. J. Aaron Breeden)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – As you prepare for the next PCS, here are five tips to a successful move. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – As you prepare for the next PCS, here are five tips to a successful move. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- PCS season is here and so are the movers. Yet have no fear, "jip-so" is here.

JPPSO, that is - the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office.

Although officially an Air Force District of Washington asset, the JPPSO-North Central offices throughout the Colorado Springs area are the largest of their kind in the entire Department of Defense, with an area of responsibility that includes 24 states within the United States, as well as all of Canada and Greenland.

According to the Colorado Springs JPPSO office, in 2014 they handled a total of 79,605 inbound and outbound shipments, 60 percent of which were handled during May and August.

Thomas Thurlby, JPPSO-NC chief of shipment distribution, stressed the importance not changing a moving date once scheduled, unless due to a genuine emergency.

"In order to secure a moving company, especially during the peak season, 21 days is optimal considering there are only 12 packing companies in Colorado Springs to support an average of 1,500 families moving from this area May 15 through July 2," said Thurlby.

To compound this issue, these same packing companies are also responsible for unpacking the nearly 1,500 in-bound families during this same time frame, he said.

Considering military moves are such an involved process, Thurlby said members should get to JPPSO with their orders as soon as they become available. This helps to avoid rescheduling report-no-later-than dates and other similar, but major, issues.

Tech. Sgt. Rich Keidle, JPPSO-NC NCO in charge of personal property processing offices, explained that the moving process begins with a site survey.

Keidle said a representative from the moving company will come to your home in advance of the moving team to assess the approximate weight of your household goods, how many packers will be needed, how long the process will take and how many trucks will be required.

Come moving day, Keidle offered insight as to how to make a military move as seamless as possible.

"Preparation will dictate how smooth your move is," said Keidle.

He added that ensuring your home is clean and free of tripping hazards will make the movers' job much easier.

With regards to the safety of one's personal property, Keidle said expensive and irreplaceable belongings, such as jewelry and family heirlooms, be moved by the member. Other items like furniture, electronics and other items should be photographed or videotaped to document condition or working order before being packed by the movers.

Specifically, Keidle advised that members should document the make, model and serial number of all high-dollar items such as TVs and stereo equipment.

This documentation will come in handy should a claim need to be filed to replace or repair items lost or damaged by a moving company.

Keidle also said that service members and spouses should be aware that any lost or damaged items must be reported within 75 days of household goods being delivered. Once loss or damage is reported claims must be filed within nine months of the delivery date. Any claims filed beyond the nine month deadline forfeit a member's right to full replacement value.

Considering how stressful a move can be, Keidle reiterated the importance of planning.

"Preparation, or lack thereof, always dictates how smooth your PCS will go," said Keidle. "Staying in contact with your local transportation office to discuss your options can help relieve much of the stress associated with your move."

For more information about planning your next military move contact the Peterson AFB JPPSO at 556-4196.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui