Everyone knows that Greensboro with all of its streets is busy during snow storms, but Guilford County doesn’t maintain any streets, so do county employees just get a day off when it snows?  Not hardly what many citizens don’t realize is that Guilford County government goes through a great deal of preparation to assure that services are maintained when the white stuff falls.

And, for county officials, those preparations don’t entail going to the store and buying milk and bread.

Guilford County Emergency Services Director Jim Albright said on Friday, Dec, 7, that one thing his department does to prepare is let staff know they’ll likely have to work overtime hours.

“There’s an increased need for staffing because, not only is call demand up, but it takes longer to respond to those calls,” Albright said.

He added that some ambulances have to be prepared.

“The majority of our newer ambulances are four-wheel drive but we have chains for the rest,” he said.

According to Albright, Guilford County Emergency Services has its own snowplows and brine-spreading vehicles to assure access to county parking lots.

He said that snow is pretty, and not that bad, but the worry is always about ice.

“Our experience has been that, in snow events, we do OK; but, with ice, nobody does well,” he said.

Ice is what makes the roads particularly treacherous and brings down power lines.

This storm is also be the first big countywide test of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department under new Sheriff Danny Rogers.  Rogers was sworn in on Monday Dec. 3 and the department is largely under new leadership.

Brand new Chief Deputy Edwin Melvin said on Friday the department was gearing up for the storm and added that Rogers would be out there personally overseeing operations.

“The sheriff is working hard to implement the snow response program,” Melvin said. “He’s very hands-on and will be out there himself.”

Worley Smith, public relations specialist for Guilford County, is the guy who keeps residents informed about essential services.  On Friday, Smith was on the phone with emergency services staff making plans.

“We are not going to close the county,” he said. “The county doesn’t ever close. If it’s anything extreme, we might pare back to essential services, but they are always kept open.”

If you think the school system is bad about canceling classes way ahead of time, well, on Friday, the county Parks and Recreation Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday night Dec. 11 was cancelled.

The county takes nothing for granted. The Risk Management Department, for instance, handed out some quite motherly advice for Guilford County’s 2,300 employees.

It advised them, “As winter weather approaches, we at Risk Management would like to remind everyone to please use extra care as you walk to and from our buildings to avoid Slips, Trips and Falls.  Slips, Trips, and Falls is one of the leading causes of injury to County employees.”

That memo also offered the following advice for the employees – who hopefully knew that all of these were all good ideas before they read them:

“•Wear appropriate footwear when traversing to/from your car.

  • Pay attention/watch where you are going to identify and avoid hazards.
  • Take smaller steps, this will allow you a greater opportunity to recover if you slip.
  • Please do not load your arms down carrying items while walking, you need the ability to grab onto a handrail or wall in slick areas.”