Emergency Services Partially Restored In Buffalo
The winter storm that has most of the eastern part of the country ensnarled and which left a serious mark on the City of Buffalo and surrounding suburbs has let up slightly over the last few hours. This reprieve has allowed some emergency services in Western New York to be partially restored as they were largely canceled during the height of the storm.
Nearly 66% of emergency vehicles that in the area were stuck in the snow and unable to respond to any calls for help in the hardest-hit areas around Buffalo. This included the City of Buffalo, the Towns of Cheektowaga, Tonawanda, Lancaster, and the Villages of Kenmore and Williamsville.
Several emergency personnel had to be rescued themselves, which had a serious impact on their ability to help others. According to a historian with the Buffalo Fire Department, this is the first time in Buffalo's 201-year history that they have not been able to respond to calls for help.
The New York National Guard Has Arrived In Buffalo
Both Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz sent requests to Governor Kathy Hochul for additional assistance and resources, which the Governor has made available. This includes snow-fighting equipment and personnel from other parts of the state, along with the NY National Guard.
In addition, to help from the National Guard, Erie County Sheriff's deputies have been using tracked vehicles, late ATVs, and Snowmobiles, to help get to people in need.
The Driving Bans Are Still In Effect
During his morning briefing on Sunday, December 25, 2022, Erie County Executive Poloncarz reminded folks that the driving ban in Western New York remains in effect for all over Erie County.
Officials have said one of the reasons they have had a hard time clearing some streets is due to cars that have been abandoned in the middle of the road on various streets throughout the area. Since a vast majority of these vehicles do not belong to emergency personnel, that means they were being illegally driven on the roads during the State of Emergency that was in place.
Even in these conditions, first responders have been able to rescue more than 50 people around Western New York.