Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Weather procedures — Mountain Post prepares for winter

by Nel Lampe

Mountaineer staff

Editor’s note: Information for this article was taken from Fort Carson Regulation 525-2-5 dated April 15.

Although it seems only last month that temperatures were in the 90s, winter is on its way. People who’ve lived here for a while predict there’ll be snow on the ground by Halloween.

There’s a plan in place — Fort Carson Regulation 525-2-5 — so Fort Carson personnel know what to do when waking up on a duty day to see several inches of snow covering the car, driveway and streets.

First thing, employees and Soldiers should call the post weather line, 526-0096 and listen to the recorded message or logon to

http://www.carson.army.mil and read the scroll across the top. Both sources have the latest information on post road conditions, reporting delays or closures, and are updated regularly.

Soldiers and employees can also tune in to local radio or TV stations for weather delays or closures.

During the night, when snow is expected in the Colorado Springs area, Fort Carson Operations Center personnel monitor Colorado State Patrol and National Weather Service Reports.

“FCOC personnel don’t just look out the window to check the weather; they look at conditions in the entire area because weather conditions here are typically varied,” said Ray Dunn, FCOC supervisor.

At 3 a.m., operations personnel notify Garrison Commander Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, giving him a weather and road assessment.

“Life, health and safety are what matter,” said McLaughlin.

When a command decision is made to delay personnel reporting times or curtail operations, the FCOC notifies brigades, stand-alone battalion staff duty officers, Public Affairs Office representatives and Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 officials.

The Public Affairs Office contacts area television and radio stations by 5 a.m.

The decision usually is a one- or two-hour delay in reporting for mission-support/mission-nonessential personnel.

Stations broadcast the Fort Carson announcement; or TV stations run a “crawl” along the bottom of the screen.

District 8 administrators will make any public announcement about school delays, closures or school bus information.

In the meantime, Fort Carson Support

Services will apply a deicing product at gates, curves and intersections of emergency snow routes and on some hills.

Roads will be plowed when snow depth reaches 3 inches.

Snow will be removed from runways, taxiways and aircraft ramps at Butts Army Airfield and Route 1 down to the Multipurpose Range Complex.

FCSS will remove snow from preidentified sidewalks. Snow removal of all other sidewalks, steps and handicap ramps will be the responsibility of facility occupants as identified in Fort Carson Regulation 525-2-5.

If snowfall starts overnight, FCSS will respond early in the morning so the emergency snow routes are as safe as possible.

If snowfall starts during the normal workday, FCSS will keep emergency snow route roads as safe as possible.

The terms “essential” and “nonessential” may be used in broadcast announcements. Managers and other supervisors are responsible for ensuring that mission-essential civilian personnel, under severe weather conditions, are identified by position, personally notified, and that documentation of personal notification is maintained using FC Form 9-E (General Counseling Form).

It is the responsibility of each Soldier and civilian workforce member to know his mission essential or mission support status and to report for duty accordingly.

Normal installation duty hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The one- or two-hour reporting delay isn’t meant for people to get extra sleep; the time should be used to dig out cars or driveways and safely make it to work by 9:30 a.m. — the end of the delay.

“The delay is (for personnel) to get to work in a safe manner. Post personnel are expected to report to duty stations within the two-hour delay,” said Dunn.

Contractor employees should check with their company for policy guidance in the event Fort Carson has early release or delayed reporting for military and civilian employees, said Dunn.

In extreme weather conditions, the decision may be made to close the post. In that case, the announcement will state that mission-nonessential Soldiers and civilian employees will not report for duty.

Post closure may last an entire day unless notified otherwise by the supervisory chain. It is the Soldiers’ and employees’ responsibility to keep updated by contacting their chain of command or listening or watching for updates on local stations.

If a storm develops during the workday, phased release may be authorized and announced through the mass notification system, although such notification does not automatically excuse Soldiers and employees. Commanders and directors may excuse personnel whose presence is not necessary to perform essential functions, using phased release in three waves.

Personnel released first will be those who reside 15 miles or more from Fort Carson.

The second wave will be released half an hour after the first wave, and will include those who reside five to 15 miles off post.

The third wave release will be an hour after the first release, and includes people who reside up to five miles from post.

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