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Nov. 10, 2014

Alexander Nedd
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Despite an unusually warm October with no snowfall and record highs for Colorado Springs, the familiar traces of winter are coming to campus as the first frosts begin to dust the foothills in the morning.

Brian McPike, the executive director of Public Safety, has been with the university for six years and advises students to be aware about the weather.

“The more informed you are, the more warning you have to plan for [any event],” he said.

McPike advises student to sign up for UCCS Alerts.

“Anything with weather related emergencies, such as canceling class, is on there, it’s how we get the info out,” he said.

McPike has learned firsthand the dangers of being ill-prepared for winter from his experience as an officer on duty during the blizzard of 1997, when a prediction of three inches of snow turned into an actual three feet.

The storm stranded McPike for three days and shut down the city.

The experience allowed him to make recommendations to Colorado Springs Police, which are now standard for all police officers in Colorado Springs and on campus.

Each officer is issued winter survival gear.

“You need the basics in the car such as a winter kit, backpack, blanket or sleeping bag, a winter coat, correct shoes like boots, winter clothing and water,” he said.

McPike tries to ensure the safety of students on campus during every season, working with facility services to develop protocol.

“They are the guys that make things happen,” he said. “[They] sand, drive trucks out in cold, they do very hard work to make the campus very safe.”

McPike also cautions to use personal judgment when attending school during inclement weather.

“If people can’t make it to campus, email your professors or contact them by whatever means and let them know that they can’t make it, it is an option,” he said. “Everyone has to assess that situation and where they are coming from.”

“Pay attention to winter driving, which includes on campus,” McPike said. “You don’t have to be going very fast to cause a lot of damage to your car. Give yourself more room in the winter time.”

Visit and check your student email for more information and other tips from public safety.