Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

When it snows; it pours

 (Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

from 21st Civil Engineer Squadron

PETERSON AIR FOR BASE, Colo. — As winter weather approaches, two of the most important missions at Peterson Air Force Base are keeping the base operational and notifying employees about weather warnings, road conditions, and base closures or delays.
“Weather conditions can change very quickly in Colorado and it is our objective to ensure that all those who either work, live, or visit the base receive up-to-date weather notifications that allow them to make smart and safe driving decisions,” said Col. Kimerlee Conner, 21st Mission Support Group commander.
Peterson employees can check several avenues for information: the Peterson Snow Call Line at 556-SNOW (7669), local television and radio stations, and
When snow and ice conditions develop at Peterson, a team of experts from across the wing recommend a course of action to ensure mission readiness and protect base personnel. When questionable weather conditions develop, 21st Security Forces Squadron and 21st CES Airmen will inspect base road and parking conditions. If the road conditions are hazardous, the civil engineer and security forces squadron commanders present a status brief to the 21st MSG commander.
Timely communication is the key element when determining road conditions and base reporting procedures. The entire process must be executed in less than an hour to ensure people are informed quickly; safety is the primary consideration throughout the process. When conditions warrant, and the 21st MSG commander has been briefed by 21 CES and 21 SFS, a course of action is then recommended to the 21st Space Wing commander. Once a decision for the base has been made, the wing commander instructs the command post to implement snow call procedures while the 21st SW Public Affairs staff update local media outlets, the snow call line and the base’s public Web site
When snow operations begin, engineers from the 21st CES begin working to make Peterson roadways as safe as possible with an emphasis on keeping all roadways clear and accessible for emergency vehicles. Of course, with the airfield as the highest priority, you may not see improvements immediately on secondary roadways but rest assured they will get to your area.
What terms you should know:
Delayed reporting
A two-hour delayed reporting is in effect, from normal reporting times, for non-essential personnel on Peterson Air Force Base. Those personnel should report to their duty stations no earlier than 9 a.m.
Peterson Air Force Base is closed. Military personnel and Department of Defense civilians are not permitted to come or go. Anyone coming on base while it is closed will not be allowed to leave. Mission-essential personnel will remain in place until the base is re-opened and their replacements arrive.
Early release
Non-mission-essential personnel and non-emergency personnel must depart their duty stations before the end of the normal duty day. Phased release of personnel normally occurs at 30-minute intervals to reduce the congestion of traffic departing Peterson.
“Early release is an essential part of the snow season to give civil engineers the chance to ready the base and make preparations for the next day,” said Colonel Conner.
“Additionally, when weather conditions present restricted road access, early release allows base personnel enough time to pick up children or a spouse, and give them the opportunity to safely navigate roads and traffic to make it home without incident,” she said.
Mission essential only
Only mission-essential and emergency personnel should report for duty. Additionally, mission-essential and emergency personnel on Peterson at the time the base is closed must remain on Peterson until the situation clears or replacements arrive.

Sources of information available to you:
Peterson Snow Call Line 556-SNOW
All Peterson personnel may call the snow call line for the latest information on base closures or delays. Due to the potential for a large volume of calls, the snow call line may be busy. Call back periodically, or check local TV stations or other sources listed to get the information.
How you can help
When the base is placed on a two-hour delay, this means you should begin your commute two hours later than you usually do. This delay gives the snow and ice removal teams time to clear roads and parking lots before you begin your commute. Your parking lot may be skipped if there are cars preventing operations, and with the tight time-line the snow plows are on, it is uncertain when they can make it back through your area. The teams clear roads much more quickly and efficiently if there is little or no traffic and you are kept safe while this operation is ongoing. If you do encounter a snow plow while driving, yield to the vehicle and give it a wide berth. These machines cannot stop quickly and are most likely spreading a de-icer and anti-skid substance mixture behind them. Additionally, you can help by slowing down and allowing additional time for your trips.

What facility managers should be doing?
Facility managers should be readying building occupants for the upcoming snow season. Hopefully your facility has a snow removal schedule, snow shovels and plenty of sand or ice-melt on hand. If facility managers do not have any ice-melt on hand, they can acquire it from 21st CES Supply.
When inclement weather occurs during the winter months, building managers are entrusted to ensure that their respective entrances and exits, along with handicap areas, are slip-free and cleared of ice, Colonel Conner said.
Safety is everyone’s business and all occupants should be looking for ways to help out. Additionally, remember base grounds contractors are only responsible for common sidewalks. The organizations are responsible for sidewalks within 100 feet of the facility.

Base housing occupants
Snow removal will begin once the snow has accumulated to two inches. Removal will continue until the accumulation has subsided. Snow removal for general officers’ quarters will begin at one-quarter inch. Snow will also be removed in resident driveways and the walkways up to the front porch, providing there are no vehicles in the driveway. The snow removal company will observe quiet hours between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. During this time, snow removal will be limited to housing streets only.

Snow parade
21st CES is bringing back its annual snow parade. The parade will take place at 3 p.m. Oct. 27. The vehicles will stop for a briefing at the main child development center and proceed down Peterson Boulevard for everyone to see the snow plows, fire trucks and special guest, Santa Claus.

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