Erie County Departments of Public Works, Emergency Services Emphasize Winter Preparation

Modified: November 17, 2017 10:32am

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Date: 
11/17/17

Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Commissioner of Public Works William Geary and Emergency Services Commissioner Daniel Neaverth, Jr. to emphasize planning, preparedness, and safety as winter approaches. The Department of Public Works Highways’ Division will be deploying 10 new plow trucks in the coming winter months, 2 for each of the county’s 5 highway districts, and has added three new salt storage facilities to the department’s snow-fighting inventory.

“On November 18, 2014 one of the worst winter storms ever struck our region – Winter Storm Knife. Lake Erie conditions are similar today, so now is the time for everyone to make a plan for what they will do when bad winter weather inevitably strikes Erie County, and to ensure they will be ready when it does,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Our DPW is ready to handle the snows with new equipment and technology, and Erie County Emergency Services is prepared to assist as necessary when the weather turns bad. However, residents need to do their part to ensure that they and their loved ones will be safe if a weather emergency should strike.”

The 10 new plow trucks are among the total of 25 new dump trucks the Poloncarz administration has added to the Highway Department’s fleet since 2012; 40 trucks in the fleet are also now equipped with auto vehicle locators (“AVLs”) to monitor vehicle travel speed and location. Other new equipment includes 3 snow blower attachments for high-lift vehicles, which will be strategically located in the event of storms. These high-lifts would be deployed to locations ahead of a snow event to help assist stranded motorists and tow truck companies. Erie County DPW has also added 3 brand new salt storage facilities, at the Clarence, Harlem Road, and Hamburg highway barns. The new facilities replace older, environmentally-challenged structures with new, higher-capacity structures. This $1.5 million investment in new salt storage facilities also made possible an additional storage of 4500 tons of salt, bringing the total amount of salt/sand mix stored at Erie county’s 15 storage facilities to nearly 20,000 tons.

DPW Commissioner William Geary said, “Our crews are ready to go when the snow flies, and we urge all motorists to be respectful of plows when they see them on the roads, give them space and slow down to make a better drive for everyone. Additionally, motorists should take steps now to ensure that their vehicles are in good working order, tires have good tread, windshield wipers are fresh and fluids are filled. A little preventive maintenance now can save a big headache and major traffic snarls when the weather turns bad.”

In September 2016 Erie County unveiled the free “Ready Erie” app to allow county residents to create a personalized Emergency Preparedness Plan. In addition to completing a Plan, the multi-purpose app allows users to receive critical weather, news, information and emergency alerts through push notifications, locate Erie County’s emergency shelters, and view up-to-date evacuation route maps. Users who create a personalized Emergency Plan are able to store the Plan on their device to share with family and friends. Every individual’s Plan will include an Emergency Supply Kit Checklist tailored to their needs; a Customized Emergency Food Supply Shopping List; an Emergency Communications Plan to notify loved ones of the individual’s status; and information to prepare your home for impending disaster.

Emergency Services Commissioner Dan Neaverth, Jr., added, “I'm repeatedly asked if there's a single thing citizens can do to prepare and I always respond, have a plan. The ability to develop a step by step emergency plan customized specifically for your family is now just a free download away."

The app can be downloaded from the Erie County website at http://www2.erie.gov/ under the “Online Services” tab. The Ready Erie app is available on all major platforms.

The DPW Highways’ Division is also making use of enhanced technology in combatting winter snows. The use of online mapping tools will allow the Department to include a constantly updated overlay of driving bans by Town or Village in an online format on both the Erie County website and the Ready Erie app. Highway districts will be able to annotate the map to indicate if roads are open (green) restricted (yellow) or closed (red), ensuring that valuable information is being pushed live and in a timely manner to the public.

For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Public Works, visit http://www2.erie.gov/dpw/

On the Erie County Department of Emergency Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/emergencyservices/