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City of Buffalo Press Releases

Posted on: October 20, 2023

Mayor Brown and the City’s Storm Response Task Force Announce Recommendations

Seal of the City of Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown’s Storm Response Task Force has issued the winter weather preparation assessment and recommendations for the upcoming season.

“We don’t know what magnitude of winter storms our city will face in the future, but what we do know, is that ‘once-in-a -generation storms’ may no longer be ‘once-in-a-generation,’” said Mayor Brown. “That’s why my administration and this task force have been collaborating to put measures in place that will help us prepare for the upcoming winter season.”

Immediately following the historic December ’22 blizzard, Mayor Brown reached out to NYU requesting a study to examine the response to the blizzard in Buffalo – the epicenter of the blizzard. The report called “Lessons Learned from the Buffalo Blizzard” offers suggestions as to what steps the city, and its partners, can take to better manage serious winter storms and other weather events. Additional recommendations have come from many other places as well, including from city staff.

Mayor Brown created the Storm Response Task Force to review and generate additional suggestions. The Task Force includes residents, city, county, and state government representatives as well as representatives from National Grid, Charter Communications, local businesses, and neighborhood associations.

Over the last few months, Task Force members have worked together to develop and compile a list of recommendations for the incoming winter season. The Task Force’s recommendations will help increase collaboration, better educate the public about winter readiness, increase winter weather safety, and improve extreme weather responses.

The 2023-2024 City of Buffalo Snow Plan will incorporate the recommendations that are pertinent to city services before, during, and after a major winter weather event. The Snow Plan will be filed with the Common Council prior to the November 1st deadline.

Task Force Recommendations COMMUNICATIONS

  • Winter Safety Public Service Announcements: The City of Buffalo and Charter Communications partnered to produce several public services announcements aimed at educating residents about how to stay safe during winter weather emergencies. The public service announcements will start airing December 1st on Spectrum Television Channels in Buffalo and throughout the Western New York region.
  • Winter Preparedness Series: In partnership with the Buffalo Common Council, city officials, and community- based organizations the Winter Preparedness Series includes several workshops in the community that will help prepare residents for the upcoming winter season.
  • Virtual Prep & Protect: Emergency Preparedness Workshops: These events are focused on educating the community on how to better prepare themselves and their homes for the colder months ahead, as well as focusing on winter preparedness. We are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our community members, especially during the harsh winter season. We are going to send a QR code to citizens with that information.
  • Digital Message Boards: Additional message boards will be installed in high traffic areas throughout the city. The message boards will serve as an added warning for a pending winter weather event.
  • Translated Emergency Messages: To ensure the safety and well-being of all residents, including New Americans, the city will release emergency storm information in multiple languages. By providing crucial updates in languages spoken by these residents, Buffalo aims to empower and protect its diverse community, and ensuring that everyone has access to vital information. The languages include, but are not limited to, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, Karen, Swahili, and French.
  • BuffAlert Promotion: Flyers for the City of Buffalo BuffAlert system have been updated, and distribution has been expanded. The flyers have been posted in local community centers and they also have been distributed door-to-door, during Mayor Brown’s Clean Sweep events in various neighborhoods. The flyers have also been distributed to senior centers, and they have been translated in a variety of languages.
  • Additional Social Media and Television Access: Winter Weather Emergencies will be pushed in a timely manner on the City of Buffalo Government Channel, and through additional City of Buffalo departmental social media accounts such as the Mayor’s Facebook page, the government channel Facebook page and the 311 Facebook page.

EQUIPMENT & STRATEGIC OPERATIONS

  • Snow-Fighting Equipment: The City of Buffalo Department of Public Works has a total of 10 additional plows – four new plows are scheduled to arrive by the end of the year and six plows are on loan from the New York State Thruway Authority.
  • Snowmobiles: Five snowmobiles have been donated to the Buffalo Fire Department by Delaware North. Snowmobiles will be used to transport residents to warming centers, deliver medical supplies and to rescue stranded motorists.
  • Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs): The City of Buffalo Fire Department will have 4 UTVs. The UTVs offer increased maneuverability. They will be used to deliver supplies to firehouses, and other related winter weather tasks. The City of Buffalo Fire Department is working with the City of Buffalo Police Department to facilitate staff training for the operation of UTVs.
  • Emergency Operations Center (EOC): The City’s Emergency Operations Center is located on the 5th floor of the Michael J. Dillon Building. In instances of extreme winter weather EOC meetings will take place virtually.
  • Winter Weather Feedback Survey: A survey has been created to gain public input regarding winter storm response and services. The survey will be distributed after every winter season to get resident feedback and to continually improve the city’s winter storm response.

LIFE SAVING MEASURES

  • Emergency Shelters: The City will have at least one emergency shelter in each council district available to residents who are seeking shelter. Blue lights will be placed outside the centers for visibility, and generators will be obtained for the community centers to ensure reliable heat and electricity. The emergency shelters are ADA compliant.
  • Integrated Public Alert System (IPAWS): The City plans to use the Integrated Public Alert System (IPAWS) for life-threatening weather. It operates like an Amber Alert, to automatically push notifications to cell phones of area residents. Partnership with Erie County, New York State, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will result in access to this new communication tool.

Mayor Byron Brown’s Storm Response Task Force Members

  • Premier Cigar Lounge, Owner Robin Truesdale
  • Hamlin Park Taxpayers Association, Stephanie Barber-Geter 
  • Board of Block Clubs President, Debbie Lombardo
  • Hertel Business Association Judy Porto-Fiorella 
  • Chippewa Alliance, Jay Manno
  • Harbor House CEO Nancy Singh
  • FeedMore WNY, Chief Communications Officer, Collin Bishop
  • Martin Group, Chief Business Officer Charter Communications, Matt Davison 
  • Charter Communications, Director of State Government Affairs, Lauren Kelly Charter Communications, 
  • Regional Vice President of Operations, Mark Fitchett 
  • Niagara Partnership, President & CEO, Dottie Gallagher
  • National Grid, Regional Director, Ken Kujawa 
  • City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown
  • City of Buffalo Senior Advisor to the Mayor & Citizen Services, Commissioner Oswaldo Mestre 
  • City of Buffalo Deputy Mayor Rashied H. McDuffie Esq.
  • City of Buffalo Deputy Mayor Dr. Callie Johnson
  • City of Buffalo Department of Community Services and Recreational Programming, Commissioner Otis Barker Sr. 
  • City of Buffalo Department of Public Works, Commissioner Nathan Marton
  • City of Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo
  • City of Buffalo Fire Department, Deputy Commissioner Ramon Suarez 
  • City of Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph A. Gramaglia
  • City of Buffalo Police Department, Captain Michael Palizay
  • City of Buffalo Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Director of New Americans, Darren Saxon City of Buffalo 
  • Office of Mayor Brown, Director of Policy Deirdre Quain
  • City of Buffalo Office of Mayor Brown, Communications & Community Relations Assistant Manager, Angelica Morrison 
  • Erie County Department of Public Works, Commissioner, Bill Geary
  • New York State Department of Transportation, Regional Director of Operations, John Cogswell 
  • New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, James Clancy 
  • Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York Esmeralda Sierra

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