Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

December 17, 2012

Indy Snow Force readies itself for winter

Bart Doan

INDIANAPOLIS — More than 6,000 square miles of the metro area is expected to eventually be impacted by snow and ice that will cause the Indy Snow Force team around-the-clock work. After last year’s mild winter and forecasts ranging from something similar for this year to something much more typical, the team is readying for whatever comes.

“We have 375 snow routes and 180 drivers ready and trained, so we can run 24/7,” said Lesley Malone, newly appointed public information officer for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works.

“After each snow event we kind of do a breakdown and measure how much salt is used for an event, based on inches,” she explained. “Salt doesn’t really go bad, so we just take what we have leftover and just try to project in a traditional year what we’d need.”

Malone said each truck will carry between two to three tons of salt, and she said that ice poses much more of a challenge each year than snow. A sand/salt mixture will be used in ice situations as it gives drivers more traction.

“Ice is hard because there’s not as much we can do,” Malone said. “With snow, we can presalt and remove it, but with ice we have to wait for a de-icer to take effect and it’s not easy to remove completely with our plows.”

Malone said winter is usually on the minds of the department long before it is for residents. All drivers with the department have gone through a yearly master plow training which is done for both experienced and new hires. She said preparations began back in early fall.

“I would say the biggest challenge is making sure we’re all staying alert, because we’re all going 24/7,” she said. “When it’s six inches or more of snow, we have contractors that go into those residential areas so we can focus on the main roadways and secondary roads.”

Malone said motorists can also assist in making it a safe winter.

“We just ask that you always give plenty of distance,” she said. “If you think about it, the road behind the snow plow will be easier to drive than in front of it. Passing them is not recommended. Leave plenty of time for your commute and be aware that (the drivers’) visibility is not as wide for you in your car. Make sure you’re not in blind spots.”

Malone advises everyone to visit the online site for the Snow Force to view a video made by plow drivers that give winter driving tips and how to avoid pitfalls. That video can be found at www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DPW/Snow/Pages/SnowHome.aspx on the right hand side of the page by clicking on the “Winter Snow Tips PSA” link.

IMPD offers winter safety tips

With inclement weather fast approaching, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) reminds Indianapolis residents of a few vehicular safety tips for the winter season.

During the winter months, unsuspecting residents will start their vehicles in an effort to warm them up, leaving the vehicle idling and unattended. Often the vehicles are left unlocked with the keys in the ignition, leaving an opportunity for the vehicle to be stolen.

During the months of October, November, December, and January, the IMPD typically processes a large number of stolen vehicle reports. It’s suspected that the majority of these vehicles reported stolen were left unattended, idling, and unlocked. Typically, IMPD will see a spike in reported stolen vehicles when the temperatures have reached 32 degrees or below.

A few extra precautions can reduce the chances of becoming a victim to car thieves. IMPD suggests the following:

- Don’t leave a vehicle unattended, idling, and unlocked, even in driveways.

- Don’t leave a vehicle unattended, idling, and unlocked when running short errands.

- Keep valuables out of sight. Items such as GPS, computers, and cell phones left out in the open are invitations for car thieves.

- Be vigilant and observant in and around you and your neighbor’s homes. If you see suspicious activity, immediately call 911 and report it, but do not attempt to intervene.