Being prepared for snow emergencies

Submitted article

It’s time for school delays and closings as the season is now winter and the possibility of snow increases.

As children, we loved these days as they were days of sled riding, snowball fights and building snowmen. As adults, we enjoy reveling in the novelty of these activities with our children or travel through harsh conditions.

While enjoying the winter weather, it is important to keep safety in mind. Schools are delayed or closed for good reasons. Weather-related reasons may involve icy roads, foggy conditions, extreme temperatures and of course, snow accumulations.

These closings and delays are issued with safety in mind. Hazardous roads and dangerous driving conditions result in vehicular accidents. When schools are closed or delayed, drivers need to understand roads may be hazardous and allow more time for their commutes. If there is no need to travel, then people should not drive until the roads are safe again.

Occasionally, you will hear that Fayette County is under a Snow Emergency. Snow emergencies are determined by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, based on road conditions, and are usually preceded by a level 1, 2 or 3. These levels of snow emergencies have the following meanings:

Level 1 – Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Drivers should use caution when traveling.

Level 2 – This more severe level is issued when the roads become hazardous enough that you should not drive unless it is absolutely necessary.

Level 3 – All Municipal, Township, County and State roadways are closed to Non-emergency personnel. No one should be driving during these conditions. Those traveling on the roadways may subject themselves to arrest.

When snow emergencies are declared, it is important to know what is expected of you.

You should check with your employers to learn about the protocols they have for each snow emergency. Ask what your employers’ expectations are for you with regards to these snow emergency levels. During level 3 snow emergencies, all non-essential personnel should stay off the roads.

The Emergency Management Agency as well as emergency service providers ask that all citizens be prepared to last 24 hours in their homes in the event of severe weather.

During harsh weather, emergency service providers must prioritize responses to requests for help. It is necessary for people to be prepared for power outages and road closures that could delay emergency responders.

To receive reports of closings, delays and potentially dangerous weather conditions, you can sign up for Nixle. Nixle offers severe weather alerts and is a secondary source for reports of school closings and delays.

National Weather Service warnings, watches and advisories are sent out directly from the National Weather Service to the Nixle system in Fayette County. The local schools also have systems they use to provide information about school closings and delays.

In order to receive alerts from Nixle, simply text your zip code to 888777. You may also sign up for Nixle at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Website

The Washington Court House Fire Department encourages all our citizens to sign up for alerts from Nixle. They would also appreciate your staying home when the road conditions are dangerous. It’s hard to enjoy the winter weather while involved in a car accident.

Let the road crews work safely to remove the ice and snow. Once the roads are clear, go sled riding with the family and enjoy making memories that last a lifetime.

Submitted article