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Preparing The BC Community For Changes In Weather

Boston College Office Of Emergency Management Releases ‘Winter Weather Preparedness' Newsletter

Heights Staff

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 20:01

Campus has seen a fair amount of inclement weather this semester. Although Hurricane Sandy did not strike as severely in Boston as it was originally predicted, the campus did see some damage and a day of canceled classes. As the temperature has begun to drop, Boston has already received a few days of snow.

After last year’s mild winter and below average 9.3 inches of snow, weather forecasters are predicting a more average New England winter this year. According to Terry Eliasen, meteorologist and WBZ-TV executive weather producer, this winter will be colder and snowier, with an educated guess of 45 to 60 inches of snow. He also suggests that there will be a handful of big storms this year.

While the students attend their last week of classes, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is beginning preparations for the winter of 2012-2013.

“The Boston College Office of Emergency Management coordinates the University’s overall response to emergency situations threatening or affecting campus,” said John Tommaney, director of emergency management, in an email. “We bring together various departments across the University such as police, facilities, Residential Life, Student Affairs and many others to address emergency situations by coordinating resources, priorities, communication, and actions to protect members of the BC community and campuses.”
In preparation for the upcoming winter, the OEM has already published a “Winter Weather Preparedness” newsletter for the BC community. Containing advice for students on and off campus, the publication advises students on how to prepare for winter weather, what to do during inclement weather, and how to handle the aftermath of severe snowstorms. In addition, the newsletter discusses auto safety and lists additional resources helpful for students.

“When heavy winter weather threatens the Boston College area, our office coordinates closely with the National Weather Service, government emergency management organizations and various departments across campus such as Facilities,” Tommaney said. “Our Facilities staff have detailed plans for coordinating snow removal and keeping campus properties safe for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors.”
For this purpose, Facility Management owns five plows, which it supplements by leasing a front-end loader and two Bobcats, according to their website. When there is over three inches of snow, they call in a plowing contractor to assist in their snow removal operations.

“If the weather is forecast to be very severe, we will coordinate with the Senior Administration about actions which may need to be implemented such as canceling classes, closing offices, and other activities,” Tommaney said. “If such actions are implemented, key operations of the University will continue such as police, facilities, Residential Life, Dining, health, and Counseling Services. If necessary, we could activate the University Emergency Operations Center to coordinate efforts for prolonged or severe impacts. Fortunately, this is very rare.”
While the OEM is primarily devoted to handling emergencies on campus, they do have other responsibilities.

“When an emergency is not occurring, we spend much of our energy on developing emergency plans, procedures, and policies and conducting various outreach and education programs to develop and promote preparedness,” Tommaney said.

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