3 Top tips for surveillance in the snow

3 Top tips for surveillance in the snow

1. Know the area and the weather report. Let’s say you have a surveillance case in the mountains. What I would do first, is look to see if there are any winter storm warnings for the area. If so, how much snow is expected to accumulate? In the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, we can get 2-3 feet of snow overnight. Can the vehicle you are using operate under these conditions? You should already have snow tires, but do you have chains? Is your vehicle in good condition to where you are confident it won’t break down? Having a vehicle break down in normal weather conditions is fine, but in a snowstorm in the mountains this could be dangerous.

Even if there is no chance of snow, you need to be prepared. I have a bag that has emergency supplies just in case I am stuck in the mountains in the event of a road closure or other unforeseen event. The bag should contain a heating supply, a sleeping bag, food, propane heater for heating water and food, and extra warm clothes.

If your windows keep fogging up, make sure the heated air in your vehicle is not being recirculated. Also, make sure your windows are clean before conducting surveillance. Your windows will fog easier if they are not clean. If all else fails, use a shirt or towel to wipe the moisture off the window.

2. Be prepared to get out of your vehicle and move on foot. Maybe the subject you are surveilling decides to walk somewhere or camp somewhere. If this is the case, are you going to be prepared to be in subzero weather for multiple hours? Understand that if you are in the mountains and get hypothermia, hospitals are a long distance away and it will be difficult for you to get help quickly. You need to prepare yourself, so you don’t end up in a situation like this.

3. Someone always needs to know where you will be and you need to have a way to contact them. If you get stuck somewhere and need help, someone needs to be standing by to come get you. Sometimes in the mountains you do not have cell service. So what are you going to do if you’re in the middle of nowhere, have your vehicle breakdown, and the weather is -20 degrees? You cannot walk to get help and you can’t call anyone because you don’t have service. I would recommend in a situation like this, renting a satellite phone. This could save your life.