Doing Your Best, Preparing for the Worst

snow help

Winter 2016-2017

BCLS Snow and Ice Management of Central Virginia

Sitting at my desk this morning I was reminiscing of the days past listening to the weather forecasts for the impending storm and wondering what would this storm bring? As many of us are still preparing for the 2016-2017 winter season’s first big storm, the big question to ask yourself, are you really ready to take it on?

This is where preparation meets opportunity- snowed in car

The one thing that has really stuck in my mind over the years are my early days as a contractor when I did everything from gut instinct and fly by the seat of my pants vs. the later years when strategic planning for my snow operations and having multiple back up plans become both the norm and the key to our company’s success. From an excerpt of a recent speaking engagement and more importantly how we manage snow & ice management at BCLS, LLC. Snow and Ice Management it is important to know that snow plans are imperative no matter how basic! Look at my daughter’s snow plan for our home driveway. The goals are clearly articulated. While the plan was simple, execution and results were outstanding.


Here are a few good planning tips to prepare for the winter of 2016-2017. The phases and stages of preparedness

  1. Storm Preparation: Storm preparation is critical to the success of your snow operations. Build your plan, create a back-up plan for what could possibly go wrong and then have a back-up plan for the back-up plan.
  2. Readiness Phase: This is the phase of operational plan where everything is ready to go. All plants are in place and everyone knows there areas of responsibility.
  3. Alert Phase: Depending on the weather forecast and current conditions, your snow ops TEAM is placed into operation with required staffing. Ops TEAM are mobilized and positioned strategically.
  4. Operations Phase: When snowfall accumulations reach the established threshold, parking lot plowing and/or snow shoveling / blowing operations will commence and continue as conditions permit or per contractual responsibilities.
  5. Suspended Operations Phase: In the event a storm reaches an intensity that the continuation of operations would prove ineffective or would pose an undue safety risk to those you serve or your employees you will suspend operations until a time you can continue safely.
  6. Recovery Phase:  This is when you are phasing down operations, final clean-up is being done, corners being tucked, snow piling be completed, sites are being double checked, spot salting continues, equipment is getting fueled, stockpiles being tarped and so on.
  7. Post-Storm Phase: This is when all facets of snow ops are preparing for next storm. Crews are preparing for ‘ice watch services’. Ops TEAM leaders are performing an evaluation and assessment of storm related operational decisions/issues and problems are being addressed.

Keep in mind that not only are operations important so is communicating proactively with your clients. Set the expectations of what are the reasonable expectations given the weather forecast. Have a communication plan in place to keep your clients updated of storm clean-up progress.

Remember, Mother Nature delivers the snow, your job is to remove it. There are only so many things you can control. That said; you must be prepared to control the controllable. Take is slow, safely and most important do a great job! This is your opportunity to build the bank for spring operations.

Interested in learning more about our BCLS Snow and Ice Management Services? 

Contact us at or by calling us at 804.752.0052

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