Understanding the winter weather management plan

Photo by Amy L. Bugala
A snow plow with a broom and de-icing spreader clears a sidewalk during a recent snowfall on U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s Clay Kaserne.

Old man winter is here bringing with him a mix of snow and ice which can be both an inconvenience and a hazard.

Whether your daily commute is a few miles or a few steps from your home, the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Safety Office reminds individuals to use caution when traveling in winter weather conditions as grounds maintenance crews work to make streets and pedestrian ways safe.

“The U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden has a comprehensive snow removal and ice control plan which is prioritized first and foremost to sustain the mission,” said John Rice, safety and occupational health manager for USAG Wiesbaden. “Our priority is to ensure access control points and roads remain open and accessible; and to keep sidewalks, parking lots and steps to buildings clear and safe for walking.”

Rice says it’s important the community understands the snow removal and ice control priorities so they can better prepare for safe travel or make a personal decision to not head out at all.

When inclement weather strikes, the garrison’s Directorate of Public Works deploys three dedicated snow and ice removal control teams – one for airfield support and two dedicated to street and sidewalk clearance. Roads leading to public spaces such as schools, the Commissary, the Main Exchange and general installation circulation are priority one, then sidewalks and parking lots.

“DPW’s teams work as efficiently as possible beginning with the highest priority routes; however, during extreme or unpredictable weather events community safety is a shared responsibility,” said Eddie Johnson, director, DPW.

Efforts will be made to have all roads and streets cleared before the start of normal duty hours, however, “every weather situation is unique to include when conditions change and the severity,” said Johnson.  In lower priority areas it is the responsibility of the building manager, supervisor or senior leader to ensure a safe work environment he said.

“Due to the lower priority of certain areas, an inclement weather plan should be discussed with your building coordinator to cover steps and sidewalks around your facility to protect residents, customers or employees,” Rice said. “This plan works very well when we all take responsibility for our immediate areas and work as a team.”

Snow and ice clearing priorities
1) Wiesbaden Army Airfield
2) All roads, streets and sidewalks in housing, broken down by priority

  • Major traffic arteries in housing
  • Main sidewalks in housing
  • Smaller roads, parking lots and internal walk areas

USAG Wiesbaden DPW is responsible for snow removal on the roads in Newman Village, Clay Kaserne and Mainz-Kastel. All roads in Aukamm and Crestview housing areas are maintained by the City of Wiesbaden.

Parking areas

Parking areas are prioritized by the tenant, size, layout and urgency. In larger parking areas such as the Exchange and Commissary, only the entries, exits and  parking aisles are cleared during an initial response. The entire parking lot will be cleared when the area is free of vehicles.

Sidewalks

Sidewalk clearance outside of housing areas are prioritized by the time of day and the day of the week. For example on Sundays the Chapels would require early clearance; or on Saturdays the shopping areas; or weekdays the school entrances and walkways would be a priority.

Family Housing

Photo by Amy L. Bugala
There are more than 100 grit boxes located throughout U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden communities containing the approved de-icing mixture to be spread on sidewalks and steps when needed. Call (0611) 143-548-HELP to request a refill.

Residents in Army family housing are responsible for removing snow from all sidewalks and walkways pertaining to their house. The State of Hessen Bylaw No. 6 states that housing occupants living within the city limits of Wiesbaden (this includes all Army housing in USAG Wiesbaden) are required to keep sidewalks, pertaining to their residence, free from snow and ice between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Snow should not be deposited in the street and the use of chemical de-icing agents (salt) is only approved to combat ice on steep inclines and steps. The approved materials for sidewalks are abrasives, such as sand. To assist, the Wiesbaden DPW fills grit boxes at more than 100 locations throughout Wiesbaden communities which includes; Amelia Earhart Center, Aukamm, Crestview, Hainerberg, Mainz-Kastel Station and Housing, McCully Barracks, Rheinblick Golf Course, Wackernheim Rifle Range, and Clay Kaserne.  As priority dictates, DPW clears snow and ice on primary sidewalks in Aukamm and Crestview.

Assistance

Contact the snow removal control center in Bldg. 1757, at (0611) 143-548-4050/4054, or the DPW Customer Service Center, at (0611) 143-548-HELP to refill grit boxes or to report surfaces needing snow and ice removal. During off-duty hours requests are redirected to the Fire Station at (0611) 705-5883.

Always check current on-post road conditions at the USAG Wiesbaden website at www.wiesbaden.army.mil under “Road Conditions”.

Frequently asked questions about installation operations, schools and reporting procedures during inclement weather can be found at
https://www.herald-union.com/faqs-regarding-winter-weather/.


Travel tips for winter weather

Even after the snow and ice are cleared individuals should follow these safety tips below during travel.

Sidewalk and paths

  • Walk like a penguin – shuffle your feet along the surface.
  • Keep 3-points of contact when getting in and out of a vehicle.
  • Wear sensible boots/shoes with rubber soles and sufficient tread for increased friction.
  • Wear boots, shoe covers or slip on shoe cleats based on severity of snow and ice accumulation.

Roads
Know your road conditions. When driving a vehicle, Green, Amber, Red and Black are used to determine road conditions on U.S. Army installations. Drivers should always take into account their individual driving experience before heading out.

Green: Ideal road conditions exist. Drivers will observe normal precautions and speed limits.
Amber: Packed snow or slush with a depth less than four inches or ice accumulation exists. Plan for increased driving times, hazardous road conditions. Driver experience will be considered in dispatching vehicles under Amber conditions.
Red: Only mission-essential and emergency-essential vehicle dispatches are authorized. Drifting snow between four and eight inches and/or sheets of ice exists.
Black:
Emergency-essential vehicle dispatches authorized. Heavy snow drifts with more than eight inches or extreme ice sheets exist.

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