How Erie County is Preparing for Lake Effect Snow

11:43 PM, Feb 2, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -   Over the next couple days, dispatchers at the Erie County communications center are likely to field more snow-related calls for help, when between three to six inches of snow falls in the city by Sunday.

The communications center consists of the Sheriff's office and Buffalo police, all on one floor of a downtown Buffalo office building. Officials have been working the phones to make sure enough people are working and that public has the safety information they need.

The last couple of days have brought few calls to the 911 center within the city that have been snow-related. Instead, wind damage calls have been the norm. 

Deputy commissioner Greg Butcher says, "With the upcoming potential for snowfall being in the city and north that could catch some people off guard and we would hope that they would be prepared for that."

County communications fields emergency calls county-wide that range from medical problems to fires and accidents.

The dispatchers also talk to dozens of fire and police departments to make sure they know what emergencies are real and who should respond to them.

Since most calls come from cell phones, the center can screen the calls immediately to know where the call is coming from.

Officials say this cuts down on reaction time, because dispatchers instantly get the location of where the problem is. 

 

In the city, the mayor's office says that pre-salting will begin in Buffalo around 10 p.m. and that a full staff will be on standby.

"Depending on how heavy the snow is, it's a possibility, in this case, we don't anticipate having to hold anybody over or work crews on overtime," said Mayor Byron Brown. 

 

Cameras on most of the major highways in and around Buffalo allow officials to check on the conditions of the roadways.

Officials hope that residents will follow parking rules to make sure crews can clear streets, "The crews in the city and throughout the rest of the county and the local municipalities, they have to remove that snow and you can't remove it, if people are not going to follow the parking [rules]," said Butcher.

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