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Alerts utilized to assist Blasdell through winter snowstorm

BE SAFE — Road crews were out in full force on Jan. 8, to clear village of Hamburg sidewalks of snow, for pedestrian use. Photo by Jessie Owen.
BLASDELL — The deployment of the town of Hamburg’s CodeRED® alert service during Western New York’s recent blizzard was described as being a major reason for many Southtowns residents’ being supplied with updated information about the storm.

The utilization was so successful that Blasdell officials and citizens said that they are hoping to have the village’s very own, similar alert system implemented, in the near future.

The topic was discussed during the village board’s Jan. 9 meeting; Blasdell Mayor Michael Petrie also thanked the village’s department of public works and police departments for assisting the public, throughout the storm’s freezing and whiteout conditions.

Although Erie County and New York state handle maintenance of South Park and Lake avenues, the board noted that the surrounding roads were cleared by village department staff members in an efficient and responsive

manner, with the north side of Lake Avenue’s being tended to, as well.

The communication between the village’s clerk administrator and responding staff was said to also have been a key part of the process.

Blasdell Disaster Coordinator Joe Fox said that the town’s CodeRED system included informative telephone calls, text messages and instant messages about storm updates, driving bans and closings. These were sent from Hamburg’s Emergency Services Office to village staff and residents.

The town of Hamburg’s Web description listed CodeRED as having one-of-a-kind Internet mapping capability for geographic targeting of calls, coupled with a high-speed telephone calling system capable of delivering customized recorded emergency messages directly to homes and businesses, individuals and answering machines.

The service was also described as being used in cases of fire, chemical spills, evacuations, lockdowns, downed power lines, missing persons, natural disasters, abductions, water system problems, bomb threats or other emergencies.

Village Trustee Rob Hefner credited CodeRED as being a great informational tool, during times of emergency.

“It’s really informative,” Hefner said, thanking Blasdell’s responding departments for their efficient work. “It got me out of bed during all hours, but it’s informative and very helpful.”

Fox said that adding CodeRED to Blasdell’s budget in the future would be productive, citing a village cost of slightly more than $1,500 for a hypothetical five-year system agreement. He said the recent weather alert utilization was believed to be first such emergency system usage in Blasdell.

“It covers everything from cancellations for the summer concert series to a water line break in the street, to a lost child who police are looking for,” Fox said, about the alert system. “I would love to see it in the

budget.” Petrie said the enacted driving ban allowed DPW staff members to clear local streets, roads that were described as being in the best possible conditions, given the weather settings.

“If you go down the streets, [you’ll see] we’re going to be in really good shape,” the mayor said.

Deputy Mayor Lou McDonald reminded residents to assist or check on elderly residents or those who are incapable of braving cold or snowy elements.

In another matter, the board approved Blasdell Administrator Clerk Treasurer Janet Plarr’s attending the NYS Government Finance Officers’ Association Annual Conference, taking place April 1 – 4 in Albany.

The next meeting of the Blasdell Village Board will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22 in the village municipal building.

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2014-01-23 | 17:01:59
Glad to see the outreach to the community. For people who want to sign up for their local emergency system, go to www.usnear.org. Thousands of US counties have some kind of emergency notification service, so this address (www.usnear.org) is a great way to find one page that can get to them all.
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