Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dark, Wet and Cold

City snow plows clear the airport runway after spending all night plowing the streets. 

I like to use this blog to show some of the "behind the scenes" work of city employees; things that the general public probably doesn't get to see firsthand very often. Last week we had very cold temperatures and one round of snowy weather in Sikeston. Both our Public Works and Public Safety departments are on high alert during winter storms, dealing with difficult and sometimes dangerous situations.

During the day before the storm hit overnight, Public Works employees (both Street and Park divisions) were on the streets salting intersections, hills, curves, and other areas that can be troublesome when there is snow and ice on the ground. Those crews went home at the end of their normal shift in the afternoon and were on call to return overnight whenever the weather arrived. At about 1:00 a.m. crews were called back in to start plowing the streets, and they worked throughout the night and into the next day.

Public Safety Officers were also hard at work doing their normal patrols overnight during the storm, but then around 5:00 a.m. the Department of Public Safety (DPS) also received a call for mutual aid at a fire at a manufacturing facility in a neighboring community. Sikeston DPS crews were on scene at that fire until around 9:00 a.m. Ironically, cold was perhaps as much a threat as heat to these firefighters, who were struggled to stay dry while spraying water in the extremely cold pre-dawn fire response.

Later that afternoon, DPS received another call for mutual aid, this time from the Scott County Sheriff's Office for help with a search for a missing person. DPS sent search and rescue personnel and our mobile command unit, from which the search could be coordinated in the sub-freezing temperatures.

While most of us were sleeping or staying inside where it was warm and dry, city employees in the Public Works and Public Safety Departments were plowing streets, spreading salt, working traffic accidents, and searching the woods for a missing person. I'm grateful for the public servants who keep our city community running even in the dark, wet and cold of a winter storm.