County staff briefed the Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, November 11, about the county's various measures to prepare for weather-related events this winter.
Road Operations Manager Mike Lowman told the board that their office has been preparing since early this year; activities to this end include training crew for winter operations, storing sand and salt, and producing brine as an anti-icing solution.
Lowman said that the county is one of the few government agencies in the area that has the facilities for making brine. In 2022, the county produced 340,000 gallons of anti-icing solution, according to Lowman. With the salt the county has in storage, the county can manufacture over 415,000 gallons of brine.
Fleet Services Manager Bruce Rohrbough said their office has been preparing for winter operations since mid-September. They have configured their equipment for winter – for example, replacing hydraulic fittings with stainless fittings for the equipment used to dispense brine.
Other equipment like sandbaggers and chippers have been tested, while plowers, anti-icers, and sanders have also been installed on county vehicles.
The city fleet also maintains a fuel island with 20,000 gallons of diesel and unleaded tanks. The county fleet services may order additional fuel if necessary.
Rohrbough added that in an emergency requiring 24-hour operations, county fleet services would operate on two 12-hour shifts, with each shift consisting of four or five technicians and one storekeeper.
Emergency Management Manager Kyle Bustad said they continue to train their staff for emergency events and have been preparing them to use the county’s alert and notification system.
Emergency management has also been conducting outreach programs to inform the public about flood insurance and personal preparedness.
As for the county facilities, Facilities Services Manager Jason Ashe told the board that stormwater catch basins at all county sites have been cleaned in late August and early September. They have also cleaned the roofs, downspouts, and gutter of county buildings and have recently conducted emergency lighting testing.
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