Winter safety tools at Offutt: snow removal teams, info line here to help

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Danielle Grannan
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs
Winters in the Mid-West can be treacherous, but there are tools and people here waiting to jump into action at a moment's notice to keep Team Offutt safe. 

One obstacle that can be very daunting during the winter is driving while there is snow on the ground. Snow removal teams here work constantly to ensure safe driving conditions for all personnel and family members on base and in off base housing. 

The 55th Civil Engineering Squadron's snow removal teams consist of 14 permanent employees focusing on pavement and equipment, and an additional 30 part-time employees and 16 people from within the squadron, who can be called in during inclement weather, according to Bill Becker, 55th CES pavement and equipment supervisor. Mr. Becker is also known as "Snow King" during the winter months. These crews work in 12-hour, stand-by shifts for the entire season and are responsible for clearing more than 33 miles of base streets, 65 parking lots on base and five more lots in Capehart housing. 

"We have excellent snow removal crews that work long 12 - 16 hour days, on holidays, weekends and when most people are warm and safe at home because of the snow," said Mr. Becker. "Overall, they do a tremendous job of keeping the runway open and the streets drivable. No matter if they're permanent employees, augmentees or intermittent workers, they're a dedicated group of people who take pride in their work." 

The top priorities for the snow removal teams are the runway, flightline and ramps to maintain the wing's ability to perform its mission. The rest of the base is prioritized on a color-coded map, with the top priority areas in red. 

Even with the best preparation and hardest working crews, snow removal takes time. On those days when the snow isn't disappearing in time for duty hours, Team Offutt members can call the Snow and Information Line at 232-COLD to get the latest news on official delayed reporting and base closures. 

The information line is updated by 55th Wing Public Affairs Office on-call representative per direction of the 55th Mission Support Group commander. That person also calls the local news affiliates to get Offutt's closure information on their programs. 

This also includes times of delayed reporting, early dismissal and base closure. 

However, Team Offutt members are reminded that they should first rely on their chain of command for reporting instructions and look to the Snow and Information Line as a backup. 

"The 55th Wing Public Affairs team, in coordination with wing and mission support group leadership, does an excellent job of updating messages on the Snow and Information Line to keep Team Offutt updated with the latest information," said Capt. Joe Campbell, 55th Wing Public Affairs chief. "However, mission critical unit requirements take priority; individuals should always confirm reporting instructions with their chain of command," the captain added. 

Even though weather in Nebraska can be unpredictable, your response to it can be well planned and there are tools available here to help you. 

For more information about the Snow and Information Line, call wing PA at 294-3663.