Facility Maintenance Decisions

Clear Communication Essential for Snow and Ice Management

In the final phase of an audit in preparation for snow and ice removal, managers need to ask: "Do we have a documented communication plan that provides key information to all stakeholders during a storm?" Typically, managers focus on operations and equipment first, but they also need to spend enough time planning and clarifying proper communication. In general, the communication component of the plan should include processes related to:

Organizational leadership. Who are the key people that managers report to, and how and when will they receive updates about snow and ice management operations? Managers should have a plan to keep these officials in the loop and ensure they hear any surprises from the manager first.

Breakdowns. Managers must have a structured process for teams to follow when a piece of equipment fails.

Internal communications. Managers need to define the chain of command during a storm for decisions and the way team members communicate with each other.

Crisis. In a crisis, who should be the first person notified, and how? What actions will that individual take to respond to emergency needs and to notify appropriate stakeholders?

Calls. Managers need to map out the process the team will follow to call individuals during snow events that occur after normal hours.

Priorities. At some point when the weather gets especially nasty, managers will need to prioritize certain areas around facilities and provide a structured process in the communication plan to notify crews when it is time to shift to Plan B.

Managers who conduct a thorough audit of their preparations for snow and ice management before snow flies will be much better prepared for whatever weather challenges winter brings.

Brian K. Birch is the assistant executive director of the Snow & Ice Management Association, www.sima.org.

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  posted on 10/26/2012   Article Use Policy

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