APPLICATIONS & INNOVATIONS: Fight the White
By Tina Grady Barbaccia
FOUR SEASONS OF
Keep your winter weather operation in top shape year round.
eeping the equipment used for snow removal in
tip-top shape is a year-round job if you do it right.
“A lot of people think you just mount and go,”
says Jeffrey Tews, CPFP, fleet operations manager for the City
of Milwaukee. “If you try to mount a plow on a piece of
equipment that hasn’t seen it for nine or 10 months, you’ll
be in for some surprises.” To keep surprises at bay, Tews
suggests a four-stage plan for prepping equipment and
keeping it in shape – a process that starts as soon as the last
snow of the season has fallen. For Tews’ agency, the timeline
begins in April.
The City of Milwaukee DPW has about 386 pieces of
equipment plus 475 plow blades. Availability, of course, varies. This includes 108 dump trucks with salters and about
170 refuse and recycling packers used for snow. “We
are proud of the fact that we use our refuse packers for plowing snow,” Tews notes. “The
dumps are primarily used first.” The city
also has 36 sidewalk tractors that
can be equipped with a plow
or blower, and a salter
that holds about
four stages of fleet maintenance, a year-round process, to
keep the winter maintenance operation running smoothly.
Stage 1: Equipment Preparation
This stage begins right after the snow removal season ends.
All of the equipment used in the winter should be dismounted. This means “taking a lot of time” to remove all
quick disconnects, sealing them and placing a plastic bag
over them, Tews says. “We prep them for storage by bathing
them in grease and storing them in plastic bags to keep the
weather out,” he says. “We make sure we give every piece of
equipment a thorough cleaning and lubrication before putting it in storage.”
This is also the time to find anything that needs to be repaired during the course of the summer.
All tailgate linkages should also be freed up, and the tailgate should be put back on the truck so it can be put back
to work for any agency employee who needs to use it. “We
use it for ice control in the winter, and then the dump goes
to a department for the summer,” Tews says. “All of our
equipment is multipurpose.”
Stage 1 is also the time to begin operator training. The
winter maintenance season is too busy for training, but
from April through mid-October operators can be put
through obstacle courses and taught more about what can
and cannot be done with equipment. “We also update policies during this time and make sure the equipment operators learn the proper operating procedures and pre-trip
inspection procedures, Tews adds.”
Better Roads April 2012 29
Better Roads April 2012 29