Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Understanding snow call procedures

By Master Sgt. Dan Davis

21st Civil Engineer Squadron

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.    During winter weather, one of the most important missions at Peterson AFB is ensuring the safety of all personnel via notifications about current road conditions and whether the base is open, closed or delayed reporting is in effect. Peterson personnel can check several avenues for information including the Peterson Snow Call Line (556-SNOW), local television and radio stations, the 21st Space Wing Facebook page or www.peterson.af.mil.

When snow and ice conditions develop at Peterson, a team of experts from across the wing recommends a course of action to the wing commander to protect base personnel. When questionable weather conditions develop, 21st Security Forces Squadron and 21st Civil Engineer Squadron personnel inspect and assess base road and parking conditions. If road conditions are hazardous, the 21st SFS and 21st CES commanders present a status brief to the 21st Mission Support Group 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, the 21st MSG commander holds a teleconference with the commanders from the 21st SFS and 21st CES. Once the commanders agree, the 21st MSG commander recommends a course of action to the 21st Space Wing commander or vice commander. Finally, the 21st SW commander makes the decision for normal reporting, delayed reporting, or base closure. The 21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office then updates local media resources.

When snow operations kick off for the 21st CES, 22 engineers begin making Peterson roadways as safe as possible. Their efforts are focused on keeping all roadways clear and accessible for emergency vehicles. In addition, a grounds contractor is responsible for snow removal operations in the housing area.

When the base is on delayed reporting, plan your commute to arrive no earlier than the time announced in the snow call message. This delay gives the snow and ice removal teams time to clear roads and parking lots before you arrive. Your parking lot may be skipped if there are parked cars preventing snow removal operations.

Also, 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 deicer and anti-skid substance mixture behind them. Finally, slow down and allow additional time for your commute.

Here are some helpful tips if there is a snow delay:

If I am scheduled for gate guard duty, what do I do?

If the commander determines non-mission essential personnel should report no earlier than 9:30 a.m., augmentees should report at 9 a.m.

What if I think it is too dangerous to drive?

Safety is of the upmost importance. Weather conditions can vary widely across the area and what one person considers as safe driving conditions may not be for another. If individuals feel it is unsafe to attempt driving to work, they should contact their supervisor to discuss the situation.

What do I do if I have a medical appointment scheduled?

Any medical appointments that are before 9:30 a.m. will need to be rescheduled. Individuals who have a cancelled appointment due to a snow delay can call 524-CARE or 526-CARE (2273) to make a new appointment.

If there is a delay or closure, will the Commissary or Exchange be open?

The Commissary and Exchange will open at 9:30 a.m. on days they are normally open.

What if there is a special event scheduled?

Any special event scheduled before 9:30 a.m. will be postponed or rescheduled.

When does the Child Development Center open?

For mission essential personnel, the CDC opens at 6:30 a.m. These families have a letter on file notifying staff they are mission essential. Even though CDC staff is present at 6:30 a.m., non-mission essential personnel should not bring their children in until 9:30 a.m. The CDC is not equipped to take care of extra children until then.

My child goes to an in-home childcare provider on base, when can I drop them off?

In-home childcare providers set their own hours. Families should discuss this with their care provider.

Are school buses allowed on base when there is a delay or closure?

School buses will come on base at their normal time if the school district is not delayed regardless of the status of the base. If the school is running on a delayed schedule, buses will run accordingly.

What if I work at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station? How do I find out if they have a delay or closure?

A representative from CMAFS participates in the snow call with Peterson but ultimately makes their own decision for the reporting of CMAFS personnel. The CMAFS delay or closure information sources include the CMAFS snow line (719) 474-3333; 721st MSG Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/721MSG); new CMAFSAlert text message service (to sign up, text “follow CMAFSAlert” to 40404 [standard text message rates apply]) and local media outlets.

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