Straight Talk: Get ready for, be safe during winter weather

  • Published
  • By Col. Stacy L. Yike
  • 66th Air Base Group commander
Winter is bearing down on us quickly! For those of you new to Hanscom or new to the New England area, this is going to be a winter for you to remember. I do hope you have purchased all your necessary gear. Snow shovels, water-proof boots and an assortment of hats, scarves and gloves should be at the top of that list.

Next, you need to make sure you understand the procedures for your workplace and school during snow season (visit the Inclement Weather Information page). For those of you that work on the base, I make the call on base status shortly after 5 a.m. and we update the COLD line and websites no later than 5:30 a.m. We do not initiate phone recalls during snow events, so each member is responsible for checking the status as needed.

We will post an AtHoc message, so if you have registered on the AtHoc system, you will get a call on the phone number you provide, including a personal cell. Local schools provide notifications through automatic phone calls. Base schools delays or cancellations are not always consistent with the base workforce delays or cancellations, depending on a variety of conditions, so be sure to check both.

My most popular question last year had to do with clearing of parking spots. For fastest resolution of an area of parking spots that are not usable, please report the condition to your facility manager. They have a direct line into civil engineering to get the snow plows to the right spot quickly. When we get a large snow, the initial work to clear the roads can create large piles at the intersections. Please proceed cautiously! Once the roads are clear, then work crews will come back and knock down the piles for improved visibility.

Now, you are ready to go out and have some fun! Be sure to take advantage of all the great winter sports available to you here in the local area. Never tried downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding or ice skating? Everything is close by and Outdoor Recreation plus Tickets and Tours offer many affordable trips and ideas for you. Get out and experience a bit of the New England winter so when you head back to warmer climates you have some tall tales to tell.

Last in this column, but fundamental to all we do -- drum roll, please -- be safe! Have you created your emergency roadside kit for snow? Please add boots and blanket to your kit today. Remember to drive slower, brake softer, leave more time to get where you are going, clean off your car completely, wear reflective gear, step carefully, dress warmly and stock up on lots of hot chocolate. Winter can be a wonderful time of year!