Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Unusual Snow Preparations

Bread. Check.

Milk. Check.

Shovel. Check.

Movie DVDs. Check.

It seems like you are completely prepared for a long wait in your home during the snow. That may be true, but for United States Park Police officers, we need to do many additional preparations. Our patrols must go on, but we have some peculiar needs that must be met.

Consider our horses assigned to the Mounted Patrol.

Our horses need feed, water, and daily care. This requires an additional commitment from the Mounted officers. These officers are deployed for regular patrol duties to supplement the “street” officers with the increased calls for service, but the horses will remain well cared for.

While everyone else is at home watching DVDs and eating bread and drinking their milk, United States Park Police officers make frequent checks of our stables to assure the integrity of the roofs, make certain power stays on so that a heat loss will not freeze up the waterers, and check the welfare of the animals.

The Mounted officers must muck the stalls, provide hay for twenty four hour grazing, and provide two well balanced meals of Dietrich pellet grain daily for our charges.

The stock piles of shavings we use for bedding generally is frozen up and not accessible through the drifts, so we switch to baled shavings that we can carry on our shoulders. Hay must be moved from the lofts and storage sheds to the stalls. Grain needs to be distributed about. Manure is toted a bit away from the stalls where it will be piled for later removal.

Some of our facilities require frequent plow trips so access can be maintained for this important care.

Prior to events such as the blizzard conditions we are now seeing, our Mounted officers made certain that all medical supplies were up to date with bandaging materials and any pharmaceuticals that could be needed in an emergency were readily available. We must assume that if a veterinarian is needed, it could take a while for a response.

While you are at home hopefully enjoying this snow please remember the many additional steps your public safety personnel is doing to maintain operations.