Columbia Takes "All Hazards Approach" to Storm

City officials to work 'round the clock until Thursday

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By Monique Williams

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- As the threat of a winter storm looms, not all City of Columbia officials had the day off. In fact, emergency response personnel will spend the next 24-to-48 hours monitoring the storm's impact.

Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson, was briefed by emergency management officials on the course of action for this year's anticipated storm, before the capitol city is blanketed by snow and ice like it was in 2011.

"I feel we are ready whenever the weather comes our way," said Wilson. "We take these situations seriously to err on the side of caution. We would rather be fully staffed and prepared than not so."

Reports of minor problems did not deter team members, who each provided a brief overview of their plans for this storm.

"We've already had some accidents in various areas," said Capt. Larry Johnson with the City. "Several tree limbs down, debris removal."

While those concerns were handled with ease, the focus shifts to tonight's conditions and the importance of heeding advice from police and fire chiefs, to name a few.

"Make sure you have a working smoke detector," said Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins.

"We are asking the public to stay off the roads as much as possible," said Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago.

Public Works started preparing major city roads Monday with brine and a salt/sand mixture is ready to go when needed. Weather conditions are being monitored 'round the clock and appropriate agency personnel will be dispatched accordingly.

"We hope and pray this is not a major weather event," said Wilson.

That command center will operate 24-7 until Thursday afternoon. Also, MLK Park and Hyatt Park are available as warming stations for those who may lose power or heat in your home and you need a place to thaw out. Police say one good thing about this kind of weather is that crime usually goes down.

Phone numbers officials say you may need for assistance and non-emergencies include: 803-545-3300 and 803-525-2911. Officials urge you, only call 9-1-1 in the case of a true emergency.

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