Don’t Slip!

A survey of winter alert systems and tips to get you safely to your destination

MELISSA SCRIVEN, STAFF WRITER, UAS WHALESONG

An alert system is available to all UAS students, staff, and faculty. 

“We have a Campus-Wide Alert system that is on all phones on campus,” said Craig Cottrell, Emergency Management Planner at UAS. 

Nearly 10 inches of snow fell at the Juneau airport on Jan. 10, breaking a record for same-day snow accumulation, according to the National Weather Service. Snow continued through the next day giving Juneau School District students their first snow day since 2011. The UAS campus stayed open.

A few days after the big snow, Cottrell sent an email to students, staff, and faculty, making sure their contact information is current so they can receive safety alerts.

“This can be used for giving notice of any type of emergency from an active aggressor to a bear on campus. Anyone who sees the emergency can dial it and send the notice,” he said.

To receive the emergency messages, Cottrell said, personal contact information on UAOnline must be up-to-date. 

“These systems allow you to receive an immediate message for situations in which there is an immediate danger to people on campus,” Cottrell said. 

Examples could include “everything from a snow emergency to an active shooter, bear or hazardous materials spill,” he said. 

He said a secondary notification system, called Rave Guardian, will expand UAS capability to keep people safe.  

“This system sends an alert message via email, telephone, and text,” he said. These alerts are sent all at once, “so no matter what device you’re using, you can stay safely informed.”

The app Rave Guardian allows quick access to the campus directory and safety phone numbers, links to campus shuttle location, road information, emergency notifications based on location, and more, Cottrell said. Additional information on the app can be found at http://www.raveguardian.com. 

Dan Garcia, UAS Health and Safety Manager, provided tips to stay safe in winter driving conditions, including being cautious and having appropriate tires. Give defrosters time to work, scrape ice off of windows, and clear any snow from headlights and taillights, he said. 

“With our recurring freeze thaw cycles, slippery road conditions are the norm in Juneau. Give a generous following distance when following another car,” Garcia said.

Take extra time when conditions are icy or snowy. Garcia also recommended keeping a winter emergency kit in vehicles with tools such as flares, shovel, tow strap, and gravel.

If walking, footwear with good traction is a wise choice. Garcia said to consider purchasing ice cleats, which are widely available in local stores. 

“Keep your eyes on your path to avoid icy spots or uneven terrain,” Garcia said. “Bend your knees, take short steps, walk flat footed or shuffle for stability. Keep your hands out of your pockets and avoid carrying heavy loads.”

He is also concerned about black ice, especially in mornings and shaded areas. Use hand rails on stairs and plant feet on each step firmly. Wearing high visibility clothing, attaching reflective tape, carrying a light and staying on pedestrian walkways can help pedestrians be seen by drivers.

Garcia said students should inform Facilities Services “of any particularly slippery traffic area, especially if you fall or witness a fall.” Report the information at 796-6496.

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