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Guidelines and FAQs for Winter Weather Conditions

As we saw this last weekend, cold and snowy weather can cause adverse driving conditions, hinder holiday plans, and interfere with work schedules. As we dive into the thick of winter, we encourage all caregivers to use these guidelines to help answer any questions related to winter weather conditions in Northwest Washington.

Do I really have to come to work?

The media may encourage you to stay inside, but employees are expected to comply with the following:

  • Unless informed otherwise by your department supervisor, all scheduled staff, including managers, are considered essential during good weather or bad—just as fire and police personnel are.
  • Employees who live in outlying areas are expected to find safe ways to get to work.
  • Your manager may need to ask that you work beyond the end of your scheduled shift. Be prepared that we may initiate 12-hour shifts for employees during adverse weather events.
  • You must follow proper notification processes for your department if you are going to be delayed getting to work.

How can I get ready?

Plan ahead and start preparing now—not after the weather gets bad. Be sure to:

  • Check out alternate commute options. If you normally take a bus, find its snow route. If you know of a coworker who lives close to you and they have a dependable snow vehicle, ask to carpool.
  • Learn the least-hilly routes to and from work in case streets with hills are closed.
  • Learn how to put tire chains on your car and keep a full tank of gas.
  • Arrange for alternate childcare. Schools often close—so have a plan for who will care for your children if you are scheduled to work. Know the weather plans for the childcare or daycare agencies you use. Check www.schoolreport.org or listen to KIRO (97.3 FM) radio for the latest school closures.
  • Keep a snow kit in your vehicle and at work (such as a change of clothes, snow boots, window scraper, toiletries, medications, contact lens solution, blanket, flashlight and batteries). This is good year-round emergency management tactic.
  • Be aware that the Providence intercampus shuttles may be shut down in a snow emergency, so plan accordingly.
  • When weather is bad, set your alarm for earlier than usual so you are not rushed and can arrive to work safely.

How will I learn about snow-related events?

  • Call the Disaster Hotline at 425-261-3500 (or ex83500). Now is a good time to write down this number and keep it at home, in your cell phone, or otherwise handy. This hotline may have information on garage closures, accommodation options, travel routes and more. Do not call hospital operators or security for this information.
  • At work, you can access Department of Transportation (DOT) traffic information from the Emergency Management website.
  • Look for media announcements about the most serious weather threats: a “watch” is announced one to two days before an event; a warning” is within 12 hours or when the event is underway.

What if Providence Regional Medical Center Everett is adversely affected?

If staffing, supplies or other key areas of the hospital are affected by weather, an “Inclement Weather Plan" activation will be declared and the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) may be initiated. You can find the Providence Regional Inclement Weather Plan in Lucidoc at http://www.lucidoc.com/cgi/doc-gw.pl?ref=pemc_p:10014.

If an External Triage is activated, a HICS Labor Pool will be formed—calling for all available staff to report for reassignments as needed. Once you hear an overhead page or other notification, department representatives should report to the Labor Pool (the Back Dining room at Colby Campus and the Monte Cristo Room at Pacific Campus) for a briefing.

Volunteer drivers

To help employees get to work and get home, we ask that prepared drivers with four-wheel-drive vehicles or studded tires sign up to carpool during snow events.

If you are interested in helping, please call or email your name, shift and zip code to me at 425-261-3912 or gilbert.bodrak@providence.org.

What if I’m stuck at work?

Accommodations will be made in available patient rooms, conference rooms and unused units. Every effort will be made to have snow linens available. Some local hotels may also offer reduced rates (at the employee’s expense). The HICS Accommodations Unit Leader will share details as they become known.

Questions?

If you have any questions about to the Inclement Weather Plan, please contact your supervisor or myself. Thank you.

Gil "Bo" Bodrak, CHPA | Director
Safety, Security & Emergency Management
Providence Regional Medical Center Everett
1321 Colby Avenue | Everett, WA  98206
t: 425.261.3912 | f: 425.261.4560 | gilbert.bodrak@providence.org