Coach’s Corner: Prepping for Snow

By Joe Ketterer, Director of Quality and Efficiency

Are you ready for the first snow of the season? With all the holiday preparations and party planning, there is so much to do with so little time. For our production crews, it is a race against time to close out the year strong with regards to the completion of leaf management operations and enhancement service orders. Add a little wintry precipitation to the mix and things can certainly get hectic and become a bit stressful.

One way to take the stress out of a snowy forecast is to plan ahead. By asking yourself these simple questions, you’ll be better prepared to take on the wintry weather and will be singing along to “Let it Snow” before you know it.

  • Do you have a signed snow contract agreement? These agreements include each party’s Point of Contact (POC) information, labor, material, equipment rates, billing information, scope of services along with any supporting subcontractor agreements.
  • Do you have a snow plan? Field managers should work with their respective on-site property and facility managers to come up with a plan and map that details each area’s priority level and ensure that operators are clear on when, where, and how these plans should be carried out. These maps should identify:
    • Where to store snow on site to avoid issues later during freeze thaw cycles, to facilitate drainage, and minimize threats of black ice. This will also reduce the amount of slips or falls that can occur.
    • Hazards such as manholes, speed bumps, parking stops, and potholes that can damage equipment and prolong the removal process.
    • Special attention areas that provide key access points, such as main entrances, mailboxes, handicap parking, fire escapes/exits, loading docks, and trash dumpster pickups.
    • Utilities such as gas, electric and cable boxes, fire hydrants and storm drains so that water flow is unrestricted while snow melts.
  • Does your contract include Snow Stakes? The use of color-coded snow stakes is highly recommended and is critical to identifying the above-mentioned obstacles as well as minimizing damage to concrete curbing and turf areas. Spending a little time thinking ahead is a great insurance policy to save on costly repairs later in the season. Do NOT overlook the value of professionally installed snow stakes on your property.

There is just no substitute for overachieving at communication and common sense when it comes to snow removal operations. Communication with our customers and amongst our own Ruppert personnel (including subcontractors) is the most critical and essential part of our process. As for common sense, that responsibility is on each and every one of us engaged in snow removal operations to make sure we are well rested and have the ability to make good choices. We must be sure to train, in advance, on the details of personal preparation and be sure our people know how to safely operate the proper equipment they are expected to use in the event of a storm. With that, I wish you a safe, successful winter season!