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Erie County prepares for winter, residents urged to download emergency app

Erie County administrators showed off shiny, new Volvo snowplows Friday and urged residents to download the county's disaster preparedness app.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz reminded residents that three years ago the county faced its worst November snowstorm in modern history, which resulted in stranded motorists and multiple deaths.

"Three years ago today, this community was hit by one of the worst snow storms we have ever seen," he said.

County officials stressed that aside from the county's preparations, residents have a responsibility to do their part to stay safe.

Among the recommendations:

  •  Download the ReadyErie app. It provides emergency alerts and notifications in case of a severe storm or other emergency. The app also provides family emergency planning tools, evacuation maps and other information. So far, only about 6,000 people have downloaded the app. Poloncarz wants more people to download it.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz updates community on winter preparedness efforts. He and Emergency Services Commissioner Dan Neaverth Jr. encourage all residents to download and use the county's ReadyErie emergency app.

Posted by Sandra Tan on Friday, November 17, 2017

  • Tend to your vehicle. Keep gas tanks full, and load an emergency storm kit. Replace bald tires and mount snow tires to help avoid getting into an accident. "One accident can shutdown the Thruway," Poloncarz said.
  • Keep a week's worth of prescription medication at home. During the 2014 November storm, many residents were running out of life-saving medications, Poloncarz said.
  • Keep fa week's worth of food and water on hand. This is particularly critical for families that feed infants baby formula.
  • Check on seniors in your neighborhood. Exchange phone numbers in advance and be prepared to provide assistance to those in need, said County Legislator Patrick Burke.

One of 10 new Volvo snowplows purchased this year by the Erie County Department of Public Works. Unlike the old snowplows, these can be handled by a single driver.

In keeping with the county's Made in America Act, the administration has negotiated a pilot project with the U.S. construction equipment company Caterpillar to rent some equipment for the winter season, starting with three high lifts with snowblower attachments, Public Works Commissioner William Geary said.

The rented high lifts would be used to gain access to roadways in particularly difficult snow-clogged conditions and be stationed along trouble-prone locations and emergency routes, Geary said. The pilot project will come before the County Legislature for approval next month. Geary said the new rental equipment may be available for county use by the start of January.

ATVs used by the Erie County Emergency Services Department for access purposes in case of emergency.

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