Winter weather requires extra preparation from staff

Haley Barnes, Rocket Contributor
January 30, 2014

Due to harsh weather conditions throughout the week, several departments of Slippery Rock took action to ensure the safety of students and staff.

SRU’s Assistant Director of Campus Services Dallas Cott explained how the removal of snow works. Cott said there are three different crews that each fulfills their own responsibilities in the process of snow removal. He said there is a 5 a.m., a 6 a.m., and an 8 a.m. crew.

“If we get snow after hours the University Police call the Grounds Supervisor who then calls out staff members based on the amount of snow we have received,” Cott said. “We are not staffed nor funded for a 24 hour operation like PennDot is.”

Cott said the 5 a.m. crew is responsible for the plowing and salting of roads around campus that need to be cleared for 6 a.m. He said the 6 a.m. crew is responsible for the starting of shoveling around buildings A through F, the upper, and lower campus. He said they also continue working on the parking lots. Lastly, the 8 a.m. crew adds additional help to the previous jobs.

Cott said there is roughly eight to 10 miles of roads back and forth that need plowed. He said it is not the university’s responsibility to plow Keister Road and Harmony Road, as those roads belong to the borough and township.

Cott said there are two products used to melt snow and ice: rock salt and rock salt/calcium chloride mix. He said rock salt is the primary ice melter for roads and parking lots and the rock salt/calcium chloride mix is used for the sidewalks around campus.

“We cannot be everywhere at once when it snows,” Cott said. “My top priority is trying to provide the safest conditions as possible given the conditions we are dealing with for the students, faculty, staff and visitors to this campus.”

Cott said the amount of snow heavily impacts how much the crews can get done in a timely manner. For example, the crews can clear one to two inches of snow in about a half of day. He said if staff calls off, there is no backup and those areas must be covered by employees who are already working.

“This same crew is responsible for all trash pickup on campus including the small cans out on campus and the large green totes next to each building,” Cott said. “Trash removal is a five and a half days a week job to keep up with the demands.”

“This crew has a lot of responsibilities that occur on a daily basis so again and we do the best we can to accommodate all of these duties.” Cott said.

SRU Director of Environmental Health and Safety Paul Novak commented on shoe wear during times of snow. Novak said the risk of someone falling during times of snow and ice are greater with common shoe wear. He said shoes with rubber treads decrease the risk of falling.

“Additional factors include whether a person is carrying books, a backpack, or a gym bag that could affect their center of gravity,” Novak said. “How much in a hurry are they that might affect how fast they are walking, do they hold onto rails, etc. Being as careful as possible to not fall is the best course of action anyone can embrace.”

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