Erie County is releasing a small portion of the Christmas Blizzard reaction analysis

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – Erie County has been released 50 pages of internal memos and reports on the Christmas storm after News 4 filed a request for public records.

The storm claimed 46 lives in Erie County.

According to a memo from the county’s mental health department, there was good advance warning of things that were working well through press conferences and social media.

As for the things that weren’t working well: there should have been an earlier evacuation of staff and more clarity was needed on the arrival of key staff. The memo also said that many people in the area did not take the warnings seriously.

The report also noted that while Erie County’s 716-858-SNOW service provided transportation to important medical appointments, it did not provide people with a way to get home, leaving those being carried stranded.

The Department of Mental Health says a master plan for sanitizing critical facilities is needed.

The county also received feedback from community organizations such as Horizon Health Services — which had no lodging options — indicating that 24-hour facilities are registered with county emergency response and can be transported by snowmobile. The authority recommends that the district officially stop travel restrictions for medical staff during driving bans.

Best Self says people were given tickets despite providing assistance when first responders were unable to do so. They said a travel ban should have been implemented earlier and that the clean-up efforts after the storm had not been well coordinated. Best Self also says the county and city were not adequately prepared to distribute the support.

The WNY Independent Living Center says more independent plowing and stand-by contractors are needed and that officials should consider a system similar to Amber Alerts that would alert everyone to the dangers.

New York University has already published a Blizzard study of the city of Buffalo’s response to the storm. The state also published a report.

Erie County Central Police Services produced a follow-up report stating that the 911 communications center processed approximately 29,000 calls/texts in four days during the Christmas storm. On the third floor, where the 911 communications center is located, a sprinkler water line ruptured, causing potentially catastrophic damage to the 911 servers. However, workers managed to get hold of a shut-off valve in the building.

The county’s Department of Public Works says food shortages are also a problem.

Another problem was hiring and dispatching mechanics to fix twelve abandoned fire trucks in the city of Buffalo. Due to the cold weather, the diesel had gelled in the trucks after they had to be abandoned in the snowstorm. It is also noted that there was no consultation with DPW regarding the needs of the NYSDOT.

While the coroner was handling the death toll from the storm, he oversaw five cases of child deaths in a house fire, drug overdoses, road traffic fatalities and any other cases that fell within his purview.

The report also states: “Hospitals were inflexible and complained that their morgues were running out of space and that they were overwhelmed. This was due to funeral homes being unable to pick up bodies during the storm and not necessarily due to the deaths caused by the storm.”

The Erie County Attorney’s Office stated the following:

“The attached PDF does not represent all communications sent to the county government regarding the blizzard, which will undoubtedly number in the thousands. Furthermore, the attached PDF contains no communication between department heads or employees.”

Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Executive Secretary, commented on the release of the documents:

“We have a process that the district attorney’s office is reviewing to make sure there is anything that needs to be redacted, usually for personnel purposes related to lawsuits, there could be lawsuits but there are no issues related to what I think.” very going to happen.” There are few redactions and they talk about specifics related to the staff and that has a very different process that is legally redacted – everything else you get and you won’t find anything that you find very sexy . “I’ll just find a lot about what happened during the event and suggestions for the future.”

Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Executive

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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. More information about his work can be found here.

Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing

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