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


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

“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.”

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