Public Safety & Homeland Security

Snow Plan & Calls

Even with advance warning, snow and other major events (weather and non-weather) can cause major transportation, public safety, and homeland security challenges in metropolitan Washington. From snowstorms to planned events like presidential inaugurations, COG supports communication among area officials by coordinating regional conference calls where leaders make decisions on response efforts and operating statuses, such as closing government offices.

The most common calls occur every winter in preparation of snow. The calls, typically held in the middle of the night, bring together the National Weather Service, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), transportation agencies, local jurisdictions, and other partners to discuss conditions and make decisions in a regional context as part of the Unified Regional Snow Emergency Plan.

In metropolitan Washington, which regularly experiences heavy traffic, keeping people off the roads during the worst of the weather allows governments to more easily access and plow roads that need treatment, and public safety officials can then respond more quickly to persons in need of emergency services.