Surviving the snow

On the evening of the driving conditions in Basingstoke being so badly affected by widespread snow and ice that it made national news, I spent the night with the Code 9 Adverse Weather Response Team to get an idea of how the company is able to continue responding in such severe environments.

The first thing that strikes me is the team’s willingness to get on with the job, regardless of the weather. Everyone seems to be enjoying the challenge that the conditions are presenting, not least so because of the kit and vehicles they have access to in such situations. The team are suited in Helly Hanson insulated overalls, affectionately known as the ‘company onesie’. These suits enable the team to stay warm, as well as providing visibility, owing to the fluorescent detailing. They are also waterproof, so when we arrive on site and are wading through over 8 inches of snow, there aren’t any concerns about wet trousers.

The kitted out response car makes light work of the conditions, in part due to the vehicles 4 wheel drive capabilities, but also due to the extensive driver training that every Mobile Patrol Officer is put through by the company. In order to drive in response conditions they are expected to have passed ROSPA Gold Award and are continually assessed in routine patrol movements by senior staff to ensure that they remain up to standard.

As for the night itself, we make good progress through the treacherous A roads, completing routine duties such as lock ups and site patrols as well as stopping along the way to lend some pushing power to those trying to cox their cars through the weather. During site visits, the team also ensure that fire exits are passable, and report any problems back to the client to enable them to make an informed decision as to whether to open the building. Routine check ins are also made by management to keep up to date with conditions and the teams progress.

It is evident that the team are already preparing for the next stage of this arctic weather, the problems presented when the snow and ice begin to melt. Drainage is checked at each of the buildings and I am informed that there are already plans in place to monitor and manage water accumulation and the associated risks.

As we head home, with the heated seats on full power, I reflect on how seamless the delivery of service has continued to be, even in the most testing of environments tonight. I am left in no doubt that the company advertisement of being able to respond in any weather condition is not only true, but a challenge enthusiastically met by their staff.