Poloncarz blames community leaders for slow aid

Posted at 9:32 PM, Dec 03, 2014

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, angered by complaints from several town and village leaders who stated they never received assistance from the county during the recent storm, sharply placed blame back on the communities themselves.

Pointing out the failure of some community leaders to reach out using the "DLAN" (DisasterLan Enterprise System), a computerized system designed for municipalities to request assistance, lead to some areas missing out on the assistance Erie County offered constantly throughout the storm.

Around Orchard Park, the common feeling is there is room for improvement when it comes to response to a weather emergency - like that of the historic November storm.

Town Supervisor Patrick Keem said he thinks the town did well for the conditions, but that they could be better prepared. He says he didn't realize it would be days before help would arrive from the county and state.

"We're going to do an inventory of the businesses and equipment in Orchard Park, see who has loaders, see who has backhoes, see who has equipment we can call on in an emergency like this again to help ourselves for the first 48-72 hours before the help from outside arrives," Keem said.

Hal Kaminski was one of many snowed in for some time.

"I have never seen snow like this," he said. "One of the most profound parts of it was that sense of being isolated."

Over five days, parts of the town were pounded with seven feet of snow. Orchard Park Police Chief Mark Pacholec says crews went to heroic lengths to get to medical emergencies.

"It was over an hour and a half but we had to get her out because she would have gone into kidney failure," Chief Pacholec said.

Photos from the storm shown at a public form Wednesday are a reminder that much needs to be done to make sure the town is better prepared for the next storm.

Poloncarz stressed the importance of proper training on the DLAN system to prevent any future problems. The next round of training sessions will take place on December 18th and 19th.

Keem says he will be attending the training.