Multi-faceted process determines post delays
January 20, 2011
- The EOC monitors the weather 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- When bad weather threatens, the EOC consults several sources for information before enacting the Severe Weather Action Plan.
- The EOC will send Garrison Commander three notices regarding the weather conditions throughout the day.
A layer of snow blanketed post Monday morning prompting Fort Campbell officials to delay normal operations for two hours.
When winter weather approaches our region, the Emergency Operations Center evaluates several factors to determine if normal operations continue, be delayed or if post will close.
With each command, the procedure can vary, said Gene Douglas, chief of emergency operations. Current Garrison Commander, Col. Perry C. Clark, prefers to make a decision by close of business the day prior to inclement weather, when possible, Douglas said.
"Colonel Clark does this for the benefit of the community and the workforce so they will know prior to going home that day how they're going to be impacted the next day," Douglas said. "Weather, being unpredictable as it is, sometimes that may change."
The EOC monitors the weather 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When bad weather threatens the installation, the EOC consults several sources for information before enacting the Severe Weather Action Plan, Douglas said.
The EOC gets official weather forecasts from Air Force meteorologists with the 4th Detachment, 18th Weather Squadron and gathers data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Additionally, EOC officials contact the Department of Public Works roads and grounds, Department of Emergency Services, Division G3 Chief of Operations and the school superintendent for recommendations on school delays or cancellations.
"This is a collaborative effort for the good of the community," said Mark Manning, deputy chief of emergency operations.
The EOC will send Garrison Commander three notices regarding the weather conditions throughout the day. By 4 p.m., the garrison commander is given a recommendation for a course of action. The garrison commander reviews the data and shares his recommendation with the senior commander, who makes the final decision on one of three pre-determined courses of action, Douglas said.
The first course of action is that there is to be no action. Fort Campbell is open and there is no delay.
The second course of action is that there is to be a delay. Fort Campbell is opened for limited operations. Inclement Weather Personnel report at normal time; all other personnel are authorized a delay from normal report time.
"Every directorate is obligated to inform their workers who [are] emergency essential," Douglas said.
The third course of action is closing post. Only inclement weather personnel should report for work. These individuals include hospital employees, road crews and some day care workers, among others. To find out if you are among these workers, Douglas advises all to ask their supervisors.
Non-emergency essential offices, organizations and businesses will not open that day, but drivers may still enter and exit post, if they choose.
"When the post is closed, the gates aren't locked down," Douglas said. "They can come on post; they can leave post. They are just not going to get [m]any services on post."
As soon as the decision is made, the EOC begins the notification process by sending out an e-mail via Guardian Sends and by calling key garrison staff, key installation directors and the Division Staff Duty NCO. The staff duty officer will contact personnel in each brigade and organization across the installation to disseminate the information to the community.
Additionally, the EOC notifies Public Affairs, who notify TV and radio stations off post. The PAO also puts the decision on the Fort Campbell and 101st Airborne Division Facebook pages, the Fort Campbell Web site, http://www.campbell.army.mil/Pages/Home.aspx, on the Intranet and on Channel 9. The messages on both the Fort Campbell Internet and Intranet can be found homepages under the weather links.
In the coming months, Douglas said the EOC hopes to implement an automated notification system to notify by phone or e-mails to key individuals of weather-related closings or delays at Fort Campbell.
When post operations are delayed or closed because of inclement weather, Douglas and Manning advise drivers to call the office, organization or service provider first to see if they are open before traveling on the installation.
Drivers should also check road conditions before leaving their location, Douglas said.
To find out road conditions on Fort Campbell, call (270) 798-ROAD or visit the installation website at www.campbell.army.mil.
To make it easier for the Fort Campbell community, the EOC has expanded its definition of road conditions.
Green: No safety threat to the public due to weather conditions. Proceed with normal operations.
Amber: Hazardous road conditions exist in some areas. Drivers must slow to 10 MPH below the posted speed limit to maintain traction and a safe stopping distance. Roads may be icy or snow packed in places, especially secondary roads. Clearing operations are making primary roads passable.
Red: Most intersections present difficult or NO stopping conditions. Black ice or ice sheeting has made driving hazardous. Some roads have snow packed areas and some roads are icing over. Driving above 10-15 mph causes vehicles to lose traction and safe stopping distance are significantly increased. Driving is allowed however extreme caution is advised.
Black: Road conditions are extremely hazardous and pose high risk. Roads made hazardous by heavy snow, extreme sheet ice, heavy flooding or greatly reduced visibility with most primary roads impassable. POV travel is highly discouraged and should only be considered in emergent situations.
"Road [condition] colors do not indicate closure of post," Manning said.
"Some people think that if road conditions are 'red,' post is automatically closed," Douglas added. "That is not the case."
Evaluating weather is a continuous process for the EOC. With each new day, new weather conditions arrive and a new scenario presents itself for evaluation.
"Folks should not assume if post operations are affected one day, it's going to be the same the next. It will change," Douglas said.