Employers and first responders prepping to keep commuters safe during snowstorm
On Thursday, snow could affect daily commutePhoto: Video by kmtv.com
CREATED Feb. 19, 2013
Omaha, NE -- Despite the predicted snowstorm, thousands of people will be commuting to work on Thursday. Many of them will be driving during the hours the snow is predicted to fall.
Both the Papillion Fire Department and Union Pacific Railroad, one of the biggest employers in the area, said in addition to preparing for the snow, they are also making plans to keep commuters safe.
"Right now, it's just waiting for the storm to come," said Mark Davis, spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad.
Union Pacific starts planning 48 hours before weather is expected to arrive.
Davis said on Tuesday, managers met to put their plan in place for employees.
"If employees come downtown and it's OK in the morning, then there is usually a coordinated effort by the city to release businesses or employees throughout the day," said Davis. "So (if) you have a coordinated effort, that's what we do."
For example, the city would release employees in batches so the roads don't get congested all at once.
The Papillion Fire Department is also getting ready for snow.
Fire Chief Bill Bowes said his crews have stocked up on snow supplies to help those who may need it.
"We've got plenty of shovels," said Bowes. "If we get stuck, which is very unlikely, or if we find a motorist that is stuck, we can stop and help. We can shovel them out. If we need to, we can shovel our way to a front door. In those bad cases of snow where snow has built up against a door, we can shovel away from that."
Davis said safety is their main concern come Thursday.
"Safety is number one," he said. "We always tell the employees, 'Make sure you're safe when you come in.' Then, we watch the forecast throughout the day to (see if) we need to release some employees."
Mayor Jim Suttle will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. on Wednesday to discuss Omaha's plan for the storm.