Winter Weather Management

With the wintry upstate weather upon us we want to take the opportunity to share our Winter Weather management process with you.  

Before the winter weather begins plows and sanders are mounted and tested, replacement parts ordered and installed, and repairs preformed. Accessory items such as chains, hydraulics, lights, heaters, wipers, tires, and controls are installed. District snow blowers are picked up, serviced, and returned with instructions.  Rental agreements and schedules, and supplies (including rock salt, snow brushes, shovels, sand mix, etc.) are ordered.  Sidewalk markers, fire hydrant markers, snow fence, stakes, tree branch trimming and storing of items which conflict with snow removal (barrels, bike racks, etc.) are remedied or removed. Where necessary for clearing snow, bumper blocks and speed bumps at parking lots and roadways are removed and stored. 

The responsibility for developing, supervising, and improving the daily Winter Weather  management program falls to the District-wide and Grounds Supervisors, under the direction of the Director of Facilities. During the winter these supervisors monitor the weather conditions, observe forecasts and weather patterns, and assimilate reports from coworkers, other agencies, and area road crews, in order to formulate daily action plans.  They then determine the number and mix of workers necessary for the expected work.  The crew proceeds to assigned areas with the objective of plowing and salting all district roadways, parking lots, and sidewalks by 7:00 a.m.

A hard-packed, good traction surface is most essential for both driveways and walkways.  We begin clearing when there is an accumulation of more than 2” snow/slush/ice. Bare pavement is not essential, but desirable.  The general clearing guidelines are:

Full Crew
Snowfall predicted greater than or actually greater than 2 inches
Plow snow; salt as needed
Average 3-4.5 hours
Snowfall of less than 2 inches
Sand and salt; plow as needed
Average 2.5-3 hours
Freezing rain, sleet, hail of any amount
Sand and salt
Average 2 hours
Accumulated slush
Plow as needed, salt as needed
Average 2 hours
Refreezing of existing snow 
Sand and salt; Plow as needed
Average 2 hours
Snow banks too high for safe vehicle turns
Cut banks and move accumulations
with bucket loaders


Over salting leads to waste and adds to the cleaner’s workload when salt is tracked into the building.  Pre-salting is done when judgment and historical experience call for it.  Salting is only effective down to 19 degrees F.  At temperatures below 19 degrees F salt has only a grit or traction affect.  At the main entrances to each building, only a non-salt ice melter which contains no sand or other grit is used.  For driveways and parking lots we use “roadway salt”, which commonly contains 10-15 percent of grit.

Emergency egress windows are cleared of snow at least to the level of the window sill.  A path away from the window is not mandated by SED, but one is usually created in the process of clearing a window.  A path away from emergency exit doors will be kept clear when there is a sidewalk leading away from it on a regular basis.

Snow/Ice removal and salting continues throughout the school day session, and into the evening as dictated by building usage and safety concerns.  Exits are maintained until the last public meeting has left.  Evening event schedules are reviewed midday for planning for each evening’s removal needs considering the current forecast and conditions. 

Playgrounds are not maintained during the winter and should only be used when the mulch below the equipment is free of ice and snow.  Frozen mulch can be as hard as concrete, and does not provide a safety cushion for falling children.

playground safety frozen ground.pdf