By Mark Poloncarz
Erie County Executive
A weather emergency can strike in an instant – floods, snow storms, or as we saw this past year, even tornadoes. As Erie County residents we all know what lies ahead in the weather as the calendar turns to November.
It’s time to prepare for the eventual Lake Effect snowstorms and ensure that we take care of ourselves and others. Personal planning for potential weather emergencies is important, and just as our county Department of Public Works plans to keep the roads clear when the snow flies, so should residents make a plan with the “ReadyErie” app.
ReadyErie is a free smartphone or tablet device app that allows users to do a number of things, such as receive critical information and emergency alerts through push notifications, locate Erie County’s emergency shelters, view up-to-date evacuation route maps and create a personalized Emergency Preparedness Plan. ReadyErie gives users the information they need when they need it, helping them respond to emergencies in a safe and organized manner.
Users who create a personalized Emergency Management Plan can store the plan on their device and share it with family and friends. Every individual’s plan includes 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. ReadyErie is free, is quick and easy to download for Apple or Android devices and is a great way to keep you and your loved ones safe in an emergency. Check the Erie County website to download it today.
The Erie County DPW Highways’ Division is also gearing up for winter, with 10 brand new plow trucks ready to go; there are two new trucks in each highway district so you’ll see them when the snow comes. In addition, 40 county plow trucks are now equipped with auto vehicle locators, improving our ability to monitor each truck’s travel speed and location. My administration has added 25 new dump trucks to the Highway Department fleet as well and we are in the process of buying three snowblower implements for high lifts, to be strategically located in the event of storms. The high lifts will be deployed to locations ahead of an anticipated event to help assist stranded motorists and tow truck companies.
Elsewhere, we have invested $1.5 million in three new salt storage facilities at the barns in Clarence, Harlem Road and Hamburg. This investment replaces aged facilities with new, high-capacity barns that allow for the storage of an additional 4,500 tons of salt. Countywide, our fifteen salt storage facilities are filled with 20,000 tons of salt and sand mix in readiness for the winter.
Our Public Works Department is ready for the winter. Now it’s your turn to get informed, get a plan for your family, and get ReadyErie!
(Mark Poloncarz is the Erie County executive and writes a monthly column for area newspapers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter, @markpoloncarz.)