Central Ohio received its first taste of snow last weekend, giving workers in the Canal Winchester Public Service Department the opportunity to test their skills after last year's particularly mild winter.
"It's kind of like riding a bike," said Shawn Starcher, the city's streets superintendent. "But with mild winters the last couple of years, some of our newer guys haven't had a chance to get out there."
The city operates an eight-person crew that's responsible for salting and plowing streets, beginning with arterial streets, such as Columbus, High, Washington and Waterloo streets and Gender Road.
From there, trucks will tackle major streets within subdivisions, secondary streets, cul-de-sacs and parking lots and bike paths, in that order.
The city has loaded a 1,200-ton salt barn and has plenty of brine on hand, Starcher said.
Residents can do their part, too, by not shoveling snow onto streets, alleys or bike paths or piling snow near fire hydrants or dumpsters. he said.
"If residents know we're expecting accumulating snow, it's nice if they park in the driveway," he added. "We clear from curb-to-curb and we count on the drainage area to be clear.
"You get a large snowfall and get a good melt, we really depend on that snow to melt and go down gutter pans and not be restricted by any means."
According to city code and the Ohio Revised Code, residents and business owners are responsible for clearing public sidewalks of snow and ice. The city will remove plowed snow in the downtown business district when snowfall exceeds eight inches.
"You can help make sidewalks around your business or residence safer by shoveling a path around your property in a timely manner each time there is snow accumulation," Mayor Mike Ebert said in a news release. "Cleared sidewalks also assist our local police, fire and EMS during emergencies."
The Fairfield County Sheriff's Office, which provides law enforcement services for the city, assists in monitoring road conditions.
City crews also depend on residents to keep plenty of distance between their vehicles and plows and trucks.
"We're in big trucks, and there's a lot of mechanical moving parts. Seeing someone tailgating you can make you a little wary," Starcher said.