Friday, July 6, 2012

Word from the City of Roanoke: We've Been Busy, Too

Downed trees are a major concern.
Roanoke City officials have been taking some heat the last couple of days (from people, not the weather) because of their relative silence about what's going on. Below is a press release telling you what the city has been doing to answer the challenge of this unusual and widespread crisis.

I have contended all along that this is not so much a city problem as a power company and grid problem and that the city's response has been quite good. The power company's people have worked heroically, as well, but communication has been lacking. In any case, here's what the city has been doing, if you're wondering, from the city's PR department:

During the days since the June 29 storm, the City of
Roanoke has made extensive efforts to address the resulting damage
and to aid residents affected by this event. Most visible is the work
done by the Solid Waste Management Division crews, who are working
14-hour days to clear brush and debris from city neighborhoods. As of
July 5, 86 workers have spent 4,214 hours collectively, picking up
447 tons of brush from the storm - enough to cover a football field
nearly four feet deep. Historically, crews have collected a total of
300 tons of brush from the entire city for the month of July. It is
estimated that crews will collect a total of 1,500 tons of brush by
July 13 (3 million lbs). Work is not expected to be completed until
July 30.

Other responses to the storm provided by city workers include the

• In the first 12 hours after the storm, 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.,
public safety telecommunicators in the E-911 Center processed 1,603
calls, sometimes handling from 200 to 300 calls per hour. A total of
972 calls were entered into the dispatch system, and staff from
Police and Fire-EMS assisted in directing responses to the calls;

• Police and Fire-EMS staff served as first responders to emergencies
caused by the storm;

• Parks and Recreation crews responded to 217 emergency calls about
city trees that were downed, and worked with Public Works crews to
cut up trees and haul away debris;

• Public Works sign crews deployed more than 300 traffic barricades
and traffic barrels to hazardous locations (downed wires, closed
streets, intersections with inoperable traffic lights, etc.);

• Staff worked with Roanoke County and the American Red Cross to
establish and open a cooling center/shelter;

• Operations at the Police Academy were suspended, and cadets were
assigned to assist officers in directing traffic at intersections; 50
out of 158 signalized intersections were without power;

• Additional police officers were assigned to patrol areas of the
city that were without power;

• As power was restored, traffic signal technicians needed to reset
signal operations at each intersection.  Traffic signals at several
intersections also required repairs to damaged components;

• Staff from Fire-EMS and the Office of Communications shared
information with the public regarding safety, the city's cooling
center, and updates on brush pickup;

• Technology staff recorded a new message on the city's 853-2000
information line addressing storm-related issues.

1 comment:

  1. I have no doubt that the people actually working in the field are busting their tails. This is a HUGE disruption. Yet, Roanoke city and county governments have been almost mum. No personal contact with officials to reassure the masses that efforts are being made. No mayor. No chairman of the supervisors. Sure the news covers the crisis; they love them! But they haven't walked through the Fairhope neighborhood (just around the corner from WDBJ) to see the people sitting on the streets to catch a morning breeze or hear the drone of generators in the morning silence. It's like the local governments said, it's fine...we'll take care of it. In Roanoke County, our detonated trees will be collected, as usual, on our brush collecting day (every other week). So storm debris will be piled on the streets for another week. It's like this event never happened. I see that gas prices went up 20 cents a gallon today.