Something Winter This Way Comes
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
If you're reading this mid-February of 2021, you're likely joining us in experiencing one of the more challenging winters the nation has faced in quite some time. Snow, bitter cold, equipment failures, and very tired staff. And a lot of phone calls from the public, very few congratulating your agency on a job well done. This may be a good time to review some keys to success (or, how to survive the great snow). Here are a few:
Planning. Great programs don't happen accidentally. Each ice and snow season should begin with a review of last year's plan, with a focus on how it can be made just a little bit better. Routes, available equipment, and human resources (yup-peeps) all factor in to these decisions.
Staffing. The new norm (yes, I said it) has created some real potential for some staffing challenges during ice and snow events such as these. Are there alternatives to your staffing model? Contingencies? Don't be afraid to brainstorm alternatives that help ensure your success. If you wind up short-staffed on extended winter events, likely your program has fallen short of the goal. And during intense, long duration events, how will you manage other crisis such as sewer backups, fallen trees and water main breaks?
Equipment. Equipment only breaks during those special periods of high stress. Is your replacement and maintenance plan adequate? If equipment goes down, do you have reasonable alternatives? Plan ahead.
Consumables. Yup, road salt. Plow blades. Sand in the places that use it. Are you using anti-icing liquids ("beet juice") to help lower the effective temperature of your salt and reduce the amount of salt that is being used? If not, it may be time to take a look at modifying your program. Make certain that you have plenty of all of these these items on hand. You're going to need them. Running out in the heat of battle results in failure.
Customer Satisfaction. The perfect ice and snow event would illicit only a handful of phone calls, thanking you on your agency's behalf for a job well done. That doesn't always happen, does it? Wanna know the key? Communicate, communicate, communicate. And when you're done, communicate a little bit more. Social media if very affordable and provides a great way to let your citizens or constituents know of your progress. Do you have a decent way to track inquiries (ok, complaints)? CRM means Constituent Relationship Management. It's important to be able to close the loop with your constituents and let your constituents know that you have validated their concerns.
If you should need help implementing any of these ideas, please feel free to reach out and say HELLO. As always, your success is our focus.