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WKBW 7 News Buffalo

Alert system plans, signage in place for WNY community

By Kristen Mirand,


As a bitter cold stretch sets in, steps are being taken to alert residents of severe weather and storms.

Recently, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced plans for an emergency alert system to notify the public of an approaching life-threatening storm. The action the county is taking is in response to the 46 deaths that occurred in the county during the Blizzard of '22 .

"What we want to do is save the emergency alert system for the most life-threatening," Poloncarz said on Thursday.

The alert would be sent through phones, TVs, radios and other devices.

"We want to save this system for the real, real it's gonna be bad and we expect people to die," Poloncarz added.

The storm alert would be ranked 1-5, similar to hurricanes. The goal is to use this system when absolutely necessary.

"We don't want to activate an emergency alert system and then have people get so accustomed to the emergency alert system just from any old storm that they just ignore it," he explained.

SEE ALSO: Erie County plans for an emergency alert system to warn the public of life-threatening storms

On Thursday afternoon, ahead of an arctic blast, Mayor Byron Brown announced the placement of several electronic signs around the City of Buffalo to warn drivers and pedestrians of winter weather alerts.

"This will be across the city so people in distressed neighborhoods that pass by can see them," Brown said.

Still, when it comes to storm alerts, Common council member Mitch Nowakowski said it is critical to have alerts similar to Erie County.

"We need to make sure that people are properly aware that they need to stay off the roads and that they need to shelter in place during inclement weather," Nowakowski said.

He said although implementing an alert system is still in the discussion stage, an option could be partnering with the county to have the emergency alert system for everyone. Nowakowski said he has spoken with Poloncarz about this option.

"When you're having constant reminders, especially during severe weather, it can be life-saving," Nowakowski said.

When it comes to handling these emergencies, Nowakowski says Buffalo's Common Council is looking at having a emergency manager position while Mayor Brown's office prefers a fleet manager. Buffalo's Common Council votes on the fleet position on Tuesday.

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