Staying safe during and after Snowmageddon 2022
The Dickinson Police Department, Dickinson Fire Department and Stark County Emergency Services highlight the do’s and don’ts as the city remains in a “Snow Emergency” following near record breaking snowfall. Highlights include concerns with carbon monoxide, egress windows, etc.
DICKINSON — As the city remains under a “Snow Emergency,” Dickinson’s emergency responders shared a handful of important messages with the public on what residents should do to stay safe.
Lt. Mike Hanel of the Dickinson Police Department and Director Shawna Davenport Stark County Department of Emergency Services spoke with The Dickinson Press on some of the do’s and don’ts during Snowmageddon 2022.
“Even though the weather conditions have significantly improved and the winds are starting to die down, the roadways are still extremely treacherous, especially the side streets,” Hanel said, adding, “We see a lot of abandoned vehicles that are going to create some hindrances of getting some streets cleared quickly. So we just encourage citizens just to heed the no-travel advisory for a little bit longer until the plow crews can get in and open the streets back up.”
Hanel noted that from the looks of it, most people are heeding to the no-travel advisory.
“There were obviously a few vehicles here and there that ended up getting stuck and (I’m) unsure of the nature of their travel purposes. But some are required workers; others could very well just be trying to see what’s up in the city. But nonetheless, it’s still just best to stay off the streets until we can get them cleared up,” Hanel said.
On Thursday morning, several of the city’s leaders met to discuss strategies as to how the city will concentrate on clearing Level 1 routes. As the storm settles and those routes are cleared, the city will then move toward clearing Level 2 routes, which are some of the secondary roadways, Hanel said, noting that they will then tackle the residential areas, including alleyways.
“In addition to the Public Works crews that are out there, the city has partnered with several of the area contractors to assist us in the snow removal efforts. And so hopefully, everybody will get dug out here shortly,” he added.
The Stark County Department of Emergency Services posted Thursday morning on its Facebook page that people need to be mindful that the “heavy, wet snow is going to take three times as long to remove.” Due to the snow and weather conditions, many residents in Stark County may not see the snow plows for two to three days.
“We are also still under a Blizzard Warning and visibility is a factor in these operations. The plows will continue working to clear main city roads and highways within Stark County. This will take time. We ask for your patience, and again — stay off the roads so efforts can be put toward clearing the snow instead of clearing vehicles or assisting stranded motorists,” the Facebook post read.
The Dickinson Fire Department posted Thursday on its Facebook page, advising residents to check their furnace vents and intake pipes as soon as possible. With the amount of drifting snow in the past 24 hours, it’s possible that those vents and pipes could be blocked.
“There are hundreds of American deaths each year due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning,” the Facebook post read. “If the intake is blocked, the furnace won’t run. If the exhaust is blocked, your home can be filled with carbon monoxide.”
Other fire safety tips during winter storms include: plan two ways out of the home in case of an emergency, clear driveway and front walk of ice and snow, have flashlights on hand in case the power goes out and be ready if the heat stops working by using extra layers of clothes and blankets to stay warm.
The City of Dickinson Building Department sent out a reminder Wednesday via the city’s Facebook page, reminding residents to clear snow from their egress window wells and ground level egress windows. In the event of an emergency, snow may block an individual’s ability to escape.
Davenport also provided some guidance for residents and what they need to keep in mind during Snowmageddon 2022.
“Listening to the information and updates provided to the public from reliable and reputable sources can ensure not only the safety of you and your family but guarantees that you are part of the solution during emergencies rather than adding to the obstacles faced during incidents,” Davenport said. “The decision to put on no travel advisories or to close roadways is not something that is done lightly and stems from the decision of responders and officials whose number one priority is to keep the citizens we serve safe and get the operations of the cities and county back to normal as safely and quickly as possible.”
She added, “Preparedness is key in any emergency. Having a plan in place so that you can heed advice given to you by our agencies, and remain safe, is something you and your family should have in place at all times of the year regardless of if we are in an immediate threat.”
Before clearing snow from a driveway, residents should be aware of objects buried in the snow from natural gas meters and risers, electric transformers and other ground-level electric equipment that may be hidden from view, according to a Facebook post from Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. that was shared by Stark County Department of Emergency Services.
The City of Dickinson Public Works snow operations on Thursday will make two passes down the street in residential areas, once they are able to. Then a loader will make 10 to 12 feet paths from driveways. For more information regarding the City of Dickinson Public Works snow operations, call 701-456-PWPW.
As the manager of systems for all of the City of Dickinson’s first responders, including EMS and the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, Davenport noted how grateful she is to Dickinson residents who have complied with the “Snow Emergency.”
“Your patience and understanding is appreciated during these times, and as a humble reminder remember that our first responders and public work departments are working around the clock away from their families to help us get through this, and they deserve today and always our gratitude for everything they continue to do for Stark County,” she said.