By Norman Shifflett | Fort Carson Garrison Public Affairs Office
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Winter is coming, and with it comes weather that will impact the road conditions up and down the Front Range.
The best way to stay safe is to stay informed about the current road conditions and reporting status.
The commanding general’s intent during inclement weather is to maintain the safety and accountability of both military and civilian employees who live and work on Fort Carson, as the weather can vary from place to place.
The inclement weather reporting is determined by Maj. Gen. Matthew W. McFarlane, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson. He will consult with the division chief of staff and make a decision based on information from the 3rd Weather Squadron, National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Directorate of Emergency Services, the Directorate of Public Works and the chief of Current Operations.
“We have an inclement weather matrix that takes the surrounding areas into account,” said Maj. Anthony D. Capozzi, chief of current operations 4th Inf. Div. “When the commanding general makes the decision based on our recommendations, he receives supporting data on road conditions, status of school closures or delays, snow accumulation in the surrounding area, and local installation actions all based off the current and expected weather conditions. It is a deliberate process to make sure we provide the (commanding general) with enough information to make an informed decision to keep Soldiers and civilians safe.”
Once a decision is made, information will be disseminated to several different platforms including Fort Carson’s website, Fort Carson and 4th Inf.
Div. Facebook, Weather Hotline at 526-0096 and Twitter. The mass warning notification, ALERT!, will also send out a mass message to personnel signed up to receive the alerts. Each brigade and directorate have personnel managers who have been identified to enroll their personnel into the system.
Individuals can enroll up to 10 emails and 10 phone numbers so Family members can also receive notifications. Personnel can choose to receive the notifications through their work or home email, text message or phone call at work, home land-line or cell. Be advised that when the phone call alert is selected, a call from a 703 prefix will be received because the system is routed through Virginia.
“Spouses can also request their own profile to be notified via ALERT!,” said Danny Shepherd, exercise and plans specialist, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS). “I just need their first and last name, device they would like to be notified on, method of notification (call, text or both) and their e-mail address.”
If a normal reporting status is issued, both military and civilian employees are expected to make a diligent effort to report for work, regardless of the weather or road conditions. This expectation does take into consideration that road conditions will differ across Colorado Springs. If road conditions will prevent personnel from traveling safely, they should contact their supervisor immediately.
A delayed reporting status will be issued if weather is ongoing or moving into the area, which has or may create dangerous road conditions.
In the event of a delay, Soldiers will arrive two hours after their normal reporting time, which is the 6:30 a.m. physical training formation, unless otherwise specified by the commanding general or his designee. This means all nonmission-essential Soldiers would be expected to arrive no later than 8:30 a.m.
A two-hour delay for civilian personnel means that two extra hours are given to arrive as close to their normal reporting time and as safely as possible. Normal reporting status means there are no delays and military and civilian personnel will report at normal times.
If inclement weather rolls in during normal duty hours on Fort Carson, a phased release status may be disseminated. A phased-release status involves all nonmission-essential Soldiers and civilians to be released based on the distance their home is from Fort Carson. Personnel who are 15 miles or more will be released at the time the phased-release begins, followed by those who live 5-15 miles from post, 30 minutes after the initial release, and lastly, those who live on Fort Carson or within 5 miles will be released one hour after the initial phased release.
All supervisors are required to notify employees, annually and in writing, of their status as mission essential and of their unique responsibilities and obligations.
All medical clinics will open at their normal time unless otherwise noted, however it is advised to call ahead. There are no delays for staff as they are all deemed mission essential. In the event appointments need to be rescheduled, patients will be called early in the morning.
Additionally, District 8 schools are on a different decision cycle and may not match up with what Fort Carson is implementing. Parents with school-age children attending on-post schools should enroll in the school’s messaging system and watch local TV news for announcements concerning school closures and delays.
Administrative leave may be granted by the commanding general or his designated representative if their primary route to Fort Carson is closed by the state of Colorado or any other local authorities. Employees may remain on administrative leave until the roads are reopened and allow sufficient time for them to travel safely to and from work.
For current reporting status during inclement weather, visit http://www.carson.army.mil/, the “U.S. Army Fort Carson” Facebook page, @UsArmy_FtCarson on Twitter, call the Fort Carson Weather Hotline at 719-526-0096 or monitor local news casts or TV stations.