Declaring Snow Emergency
I would like to take this opportunity to
inform you what the Sheriff’s Office does when the snow falls. During severe
winter conditions, Public Safety executives must be very careful that their
resources are not diminished on minor incidents. We must have adequate
resources available to respond to the major emergencies. As driving conditions
deteriorate, we must restrict the number of vehicles on the roadways so the
likelihood of minor incidents is reduced. Fewer vehicles on the roads are
necessary for proper snow removal by the salt trucks and plows.
According to several legal opinions from
the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Sheriff of a county may declare a Snow
Emergency for the preservation of the public peace. I consult with various
other county officials such as the County Engineer, the EMA Director, and
township and city officials before declaring an emergency. Declaring a Snow
Emergency is the highest of three levels of Winter Driving Condition:
LEVEL 1 – SNOW ALERT
Roadways are hazardous with blowing and
drifting snow. Roads are passable but the drivers are urged to use caution.
LEVEL 2 – SNOW ADVISORY
Roadways are extremely hazardous with
blowing and drifting snow. Only those drivers who feel that their travel is
necessary to drive should be out on the roadways. Employees should contact
their workplaces to see if they should report to work.
LEVEL 3 – SNOW EMERGENCY
Declaring a Level 3 Snow Emergency gives
the Sheriff the power to close county and township roads to non-emergency
personnel. No one is permitted to travel during these conditions unless it is
absolutely necessary to travel. Employees should contact their workplaces to
see if they should report to work. As a last resort, we have the power to
arrest in an extreme incident.
We do our best to inform the media well
in advance of a level being declared. But, if conditions deteriorate quickly,
we may well have to increase the level with very little warning. I urge you to
listen to the local radio and television stations when the conditions warrant.
Regardless of the conditions or the
level, if you have to drive in the snow, even in an emergency, please use
caution. Have an emergency kit: a cell phone if you have one, additional gloves
and hats, a small shovel, salt or sand, etc. – you may have to dig yourself out
or walk if you get stuck. Also, take the time to clear your car of snow and
ice. This means the front and rear windows, your headlights and brake lights –
all should be free of ice and snow. Besides being the law, its just good common