Operating Status: What does it mean?

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Tinker and Central Oklahoma could be in for some unusual weather today through Monday as local forecasters advise unusually large swings in temperatures likely to bring a mix of rain, freezing rain, snow, and sleet to the area.

"We should all keep a close watch on the weather and road conditions over the next few days," said Col. Christopher Azzano, 72nd Air Base Wing and Installation commander. "The conditions when you go out may be far different when you return.  I encourage each of you to think ahead now about how you will deal with the changing driving conditions."

According to weather officials, the forecast is for probabilities of snow beginning mid-afternoon today and lasting throughout the night. Saturday's forecast calls for snow to proceed through the morning but as temperatures rise throughout the day, the snow will turn to rain or sleet which will cause road conditions to worsen. The freezing rain will continue throughout the night into Sunday and Monday.

Emphasizing that safety is always a top priority, the colonel said base officials will we continually monitor the weather conditions, and, if warranted, he will implement appropriate changes to Tinker's operating status.

"We will do our best to give people as much advance notice as possible if we are making a change to the operating status," said Colonel Azzano.

Unless otherwise announced, Tinker's operating status is always "Open." This means base personnel should expect that they are required to report for duty as scheduled by their respective organizations.

When there is a change in base operating status, that change will immediately be posted to the Tinker Official Facebook page at www.facebook.com\ TinkerAirForceBase. This posting automatically feeds to Twitter and the Tinker official public web at www.tinker.af.mil. For those without web access, the full announcement will also be recorded on the Tinker Straight Talk line at 734-1900. Details on how to view and receive alerts on Facebook and Twitter are detailed below.  The base AtHoc notification system may also be used to send email announcements.

In addition, changes in operating status are also posted on the Oklahoma Closings system which scrolls across the bottom of local TV channels and is available on their individual web sites.

"One caution," said Ralph Monson, chief of Tinker Public Affairs, "The Oklahoma Closings system has a very limited menu and while it is a good source for very general information about the operating status at Tinker, people should go to the Official Facebook site or call the Straight Talk line for the full announcement."

One of the primary limitations to the Oklahoma Closings is the options available for announcing shift changes.

"Some categories only allow us to specify the day while others may only allow us to identify shifts as "first, second or third shifts," said Mr. Monson.

To avoid confusion, Tinker personnel may refer to these definitions of Oklahoma Closings announcements specifying individual shifts:
· First Shift -- Days (morning thru daylight hours, generally between the hours of 6 a.m. and
6 p.m.)
· Second Shift -- Swings (daylight hours thru evening hours, generally between 2 p.m. and
11 p.m)
· Third Shift -- Graves/Mids or Midnight (late night through morning hours, generally between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.).

"We need each and every member of the team to meet our vital national defense missions. It is the responsibility of all Tinker employees to evaluate the weather conditions where they live and how they travel to and from work. If in doubt, contact your chain of command for specific instructions," said Colonel Azzano.

"Please do not call base operations, security forces, Tinker Command Post, base weather flight, or other base agencies for weather or operating status information," said Mr. Monson. "With 26,000 plus employees it is important we use the mass notification process as much as possible. We want to avoid unnecessary disruptions to response and notification organizations."

Facebook
You do not need an active Facebook account to view Tinker's Facebook page, but if you wish to receive automatic updates in your "news feed" you need to choose to follow Tinker. To follow Tinker on Facebook, you must also have an active Facebook account. The Facebook address is www.facebook .com/tinkerairforcebase. To fully engage, click on the "sign up" button on the top left of the page. You may also click the "like" button and you'll begin receiving Tinker updates on your news feed as soon as something is posted.

Twitter
You do not need an account to view Tinker's Twitter page, but to receive automatic text alerts, you must subscribe. To subscribe to Tinker's Twitter feed, you must have an active Twitter account and choose to "follow" @Team_Tinker. This will allow you to receive short texts from Tinker on the operating status or anytime something is posted. To subscribe go to: http://twitter.com/ Team_Tinker and click on the "sign up" button on the top left of the page. To receive SMS/text messages, send message to Twitter with the following text "follow Team_Tinker." For help, visit this section of the Twitter help page.

Weather Status

OPEN:
What announcement means: Base functions will open on time and employees are
expected to report for work as scheduled.

Additional guidance: Organizations should be as flexible as possible in approving annual leave or LWOP for employees who face emergency situations or other hardships (e.g., when schools/child care centers open late or are closed).

CLOSED:
What announcement means: Employees not designated as "weather emergency essential personnel" are excused from duty without loss of pay or charge to leave.

"Weather emergency essential personnel" are expected to report for work on time.
Additional guidance: Workdays on which Tinker is closed are non-workdays for leave purposes.

Employees who are on approved leave before the closure must be granted excused absence. This does not apply to employees on LWOP, military leave, suspension or in a nonpay status.

Employees on alternative work schedules are not entitled to another AWS day off "in lieu of" the workday on which the agency is closed.

LIBERAL LEAVE:

What announcement means: Tinker AFB functions will open on time, but employees not designated as "weather emergency essential personnel" may take leave without prior approval of their supervisors. "Weather emergency essential personnel" are expected to report for work on time.

Additional guidance: Employees must inform their supervisors if they intend to take leave. Employees must follow established leave request procedures when requesting leave.

LATE REPORTING:

What announcement means: Tinker functions will open on time, but employees not designated as "weather emergency essential personnel" should adjust their normal home departure time consistent with the announcement. Employees who arrive late for work within the specified time will be excused without loss of pay or charge to leave.

Additional guidance: "Weather emergency essential personnel" are expected to report for work on time. This announcement may affect only one shift at a time with policy changes and announcements for each shift. It may or may not be combined with "Liberal Leave."

EARLY DISMISSAL:

What announcement means: During normal work hours, the commander may decide on an "Early Dismissal" policy. When this announcement is made, employees should be dismissed relative to their normal departure times from work. Only employees who are in a duty status (not on leave) are excused without charge to leave. Employees who are in a telework status are expected to complete their normal day or request leave.

Additional guidance: If a two-hour "Early Dismissal" is announced, those who normally leave their duty stations at 3:30 p.m. would leave at 1:30 p.m.