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The District Practiced for Snow Today – We Will Still Freak Out When It Comes

by Prince Of Petworth October 28, 2016 at 10:40 am 11 Comments


From a press release:

“Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Christopher Shorter, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Leif Dormsjo, Director of the District of Columbia’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) Chris Geldart, Serve DC Director Delano Hunter, and DC General Services (DGS) Acting Director Greer Gillis kicked off the District’s 2016-2017 snow season with a snow dry run practice session and a citywide winter exercise.

“Today, we put our planning, procedures and equipment to the test,” said Mayor Bowser. “This dry run ensures our snow team is staffed, trained, equipped and ready for winter. We’re ready for snow, but hoping for none.”

This year’s Snow and Ice Removal Program features:

· 800+ members of the DC Snow Team;

· 447 pieces of snow removal equipment, including DC Snow Team and NHS light and heavy vehicles as well as leased equipment;

· 10 New Liquid Dispensing Gators with plows and spreaders;

· 30,000 tons of salt held in reserve;

· 6,000 tons of beet juice and 29,000 tons of brine hot mix;

· A new Automatic Vehicle Locator system that will allow real time reporting as well as 240 portable AVL units for rental equipment deployed in the snow program;

· A unified snow command comprised of DGS, DDOT and DPW working as one team;

· A comprehensive snow manual;

· Additional staff training.

The 800+ members of the DC Snow Team (DPW, DDOT, DGS, Serve DC, and other agencies) participated in the dry run training event to prepare for snow management, proper handling of materials, and equipment maintenance and operation. Plow drivers navigated through their routes, checking for steel plates, potholes, and other obstacles that might be covered during a snow event. Other staff, including administrative, supervisory, logistics and IT employees, practiced their functions at their sites, including the salt domes.

“This year, the snow team is using a new Automatic Vehicle Locator System,” said DPW Director Shorter. “This system will allow the team to not only better track where the snow plows are and have been, but we can now also measure the effectiveness of plows for snow events that occurred days, weeks, months, or even as much as two years ago. This will provide us vital information on best practices for continued improvement.”

This event comes one week after DPW held a snow summit with various breakout sessions to better engage employees in all aspects of snow removal including procurement, logistics, and operations.

“When severe weather strikes, it is important to be prepared,” said Director Dormsjo.“These dry runs are critical to ensure our team is equipped to handle a variety of winter events—from flurries to historic snowfalls—and to return our city to normal as quickly as possible.”

DGS, the agency responsible for removing snow from walkways surrounding government properties, used the event to encourage residents and businesses to keep their walkways clear and to volunteer for the Resident Snow Team, a coalition of community members who help shovel snow for seniors and residents with disabilities across all eight wards. To sign up as a volunteer for the Resident Snow Team, visit snow.dc.gov.

“Passable walkways are essential to our citizens’ safety and our city’s ability to open government facilities such as schools, municipal buildings and recreation centers,” said Acting Director Gillis.

The dry run practice session ran at the same time as a citywide exercise at the District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency in Southeast. The exercise simulated a significant snow storm and provided participating agencies with the opportunity to test their emergency response plans.”

  • kalicki

    I think that picture is from the 12/09 storm (Snowpocalypse? Snowmageddon? I don’t remember which name) when the non-uniformed cop got out of his SUV after it got hit with a snowball. Fun times…

  • NH Ave Hiker

    I was hiking in the NH mountains last weekend – there was already several inches of snow :)

  • beepbeep

    Can’t wait for the annual parking spot shoveling/saving debate! Always a crowd pleaser.

    I’ll just be happy if my street gets plowed within three or four days of a big storm.

  • maxwell smart

    A: Snow days are one of the few perks of Winter. It’s like being a kid again! So I hope this doesn’t interfere with surprise snow days.
    B: Regardless of what they do, I can guarantee WMATA will detour my neighborhood, without notice and/or just not run my bus route for at least 3 days past when roads are clear, resulting in me standing on the corner for an hour before final saying f’ it and working from home.

  • Kevin

    Saw a few plows on the roads this morning. Now I know why!

  • The King Ad-Hoc

    Is that why trash & recycling hasn’t been picked up today?

    • Anon Spock

      Not sure If it was emailed or paper but they did put out notice on bumping Friday pickups to Saturday to accommodate the training. Saw it earlier this week, I believe

  • Rich

    Of course, people here are under the delusion they’re living in Florida. One of the many things that makes DC entertaining.

  • ajr

    Many props for the giggles I had when I read the subject line!

  • Uptowner

    So we’re still spending millions and millions on trucks and salt to keep streets clear for cars to drive recklessly, but for sidewalks the city now bought a few shovels so that volunteers can try to keep intersections clear. Meanwhile the city’s trucks will continue to dump snow in them making them impassable and eliminating any progress made by volunteers.

    The message to pedestrIans is loud and clear: “Go to hell.”


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