Columbia Emergency Operations Plan

12:07 PM, Feb 11, 2014   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - City of Columbia officials have released what resources will be available and their plan for the winter storm.

The plan outlines a list of operating conditions and procedures which will be in place over the next two days or so.

Here is their information, as released by the city:

•         Effective immediately, Emergency Standby Status is activated for all CRC personnel. CRC 9-1-1 will be staffed at appropriate staffing levels to accommodate the anticipated increased call volume. Adjustments to staffing levels will be made (up or down) as the weather dictates.
•         911 should be called for emergencies only.  This number is active and monitored around the clock (24 hours a day/every day).
•         For non-emergency situations, citizens may call 252-2911.  This number is active and monitored around the clock (24 hours a day/ every day).

Customer Care Center

• The Customer Care Center will operate on a 24-hour basis. Citizens can call 803-545-3300 for all non-emergency assistance during the winter storm.
• During inclement weather the City of Columbia Police Department's Assisting Columbia's Elderly Program (A.C.E) and Pro-Active Community Enforcement Unit (P.A.C.E.) will be making phone calls and checking in on the programs most vulnerable citizens.  For those senior citizens that call Columbia Police Department's front desk (545-3500) or 9-1-1 Communications (252-2911) for assistance, a police officer may be dispatched for assistance to determine the degree of distress.  When possible police officers will notify designated relatives and / or friends who will provide necessary assistance to the senior.
•         Warming Stations will open at 6 p.m. Tuesday, February, 11, 2014 and will remain open on a 24-hour basis as weather conditions are monitored . The "Warming Stations", located at Hyatt Park (950 Jackson Avenue) and Martin Luther King, Jr. Park (2300 Greene Street), is a courtesy service provided by the City of Columbia in order to provide a warm, comfortable environment for persons or families who may find that they need access to additional heating sources during the freezing temperatures.  
• The City of Columbia Public Works Department is monitoring for potential inclement weather and will have staff on standby to respond if conditions warrant.

• All divisions are now taking steps to ensure that vehicles and equipment are ready and putting crews on stand-by to work as needed during the weather event.

• Street Division is mixing brine, sand and salt in preparation for the storm and will begin spraying road surfaces today.

• Street Division crews will start salting and sanding streets, bridges, fire department driveways and other priority locations as the forecast dictates.

• The Solid Waste Division is monitoring the forecast and will make decisions on delaying collection as the situation develops. There is no solid waste collection on Wednesdays, so weather will not impact collection that day. Crews will be on stand-by for Wednesday to assist as needed with debris removal.

• Forestry and Beautification will assist with all non-power line related limb removal.

Columbia Animal Services has issued the following pet care tips:
•     Shelter - If at all possible, bring all pets indoors.  If this is not possible, shelter should protect the animal from the elements and include plenty of bedding that the animal can burrow into if needed.
•   Food - Pets burn more energy to stay warm.  Make sure your pet is getting a little extra food during colder months to accommodate for this.
•   Water - Check your pet's water frequently to make sure it hasn't frozen.  Do not use metal bowls or buckets for water when it's cold.  Their tongues can stick to the metal.  Use plastic or some other material.
•   Cars - Cats and other small mammals will sometimes crawl up under the hoods of cars to get out of the elements or for the warmth of a recently run motor.  Be sure to beat on the hood or blow the horn of your car before starting it to scare possible animals away.
•   Also be mindful of coolant and antifreeze.  These taste sweet to animals but can be deadly a poison for them.
•   Walking - If salt or other chemicals have been used to melt ice, be sure to clean them off your pet's paws.  They can harm them.  Also, just because your pet has a fur coat of its own, it may not be enough to protect it from the cold.  Putting a sweater on your pet might be a good idea.
Winter weather tips for residents, courtesy of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division:
•         Be aware that black ice is almost invisible.

•         Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses, tunnels and on secondary roads in the morning and late evening when the air temperature is changing faster than the pavement temperature.

•         Never brake suddenly while driving on ice. Applying pressure to your brakes while on ice will cause your vehicle to skid.  Be sure to check your vehicles braking system and tire inflation. 

•         Keep your distance. The distance needed to stop on ice is twice as long as under normal driving circumstances.  Keep at least a three-car distance from the vehicle in front of you.

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