Tuesday, February 1, 2011

MAJOR STORM ARRIVES, PLOWS TO ASSIST EMERGENCY VEHICLES IF NECESSARY

Overland Park, KS – Careful coordination among various departments including police, fire and public works has been done to ensure the quickest response for emergency vehicles.

“Various departments have worked together, and snow plow drivers will be diverted from their snow routes to plow ahead of police, fire and ambulance emergency vehicles when necessary,” said Public Works Director Doug Brown.

Fire Chief Bryan Dehner said the types of calls received during snow season are slips and falls from people picking up a morning newspaper or taking out trash. Another frequent call relates to chest pains because people are shoveling a driveway.

“We are asking people to take extreme precaution during this severe storm. The predicted snowfall amount in excess of 10 inches will require more physical exertion and may be dangerous,” Dehner warned.“We all need to be good neighbors right now and check on those who we know may need assistance. Programs like Meals on Wheels and home oxygen delivery may not be able to get through,” Dehner said.

Police Chief John Douglass is asking citizens who have no urgent need to go out, to simply stay home during this weather event.

Overland Park is making contingency plans for employees who live a considerable distance from work. Some snow plow operators live about 60 miles away and may not be able to return to work if they go home.

“This storm is a considerable challenge. First, the amount of snow and its rapid and heavy rate of snowfall will require plows to keep returning to previously plowed thoroughfares to keep them passable,” Brown said.

“Tonight the area is likely to experience blizzard-like conditions with 45 mph wind gusts. This will create blowing and drifting snow, which will be blown back on to streets.

“With extreme cold conditions and re-plowing of streets, Overland Park is not putting down material except on hills such as Antioch, north of College Boulevard. Further, melting material becomes essentially ineffective at very cold temperatures,” Brown said.

It may be as late as Wednesday afternoon before crews move into residential areas due to the volume of snow and strong overnight winds.
Operators will continue to plow thoroughfares and collectors until the snow subsides, which is expected late tonight.

To monitor Overland Park’s progress with the storm, visit the city’s newly launched online Winter Storm Operations Map. Accompanying the map are links to online traffic signal cameras that provide real-time shots of streets. There are over 100 cameras online.

If you have concerns about an area not being plowed, use Overland Park Cares on the city’s Web site to register it online.
Governor Sam Brownback Monday night declared a state of emergency for Johnson County.

Contact: Doug Brown, director of Public Works, 913-895-6034
Fire Chief Bryan Dehner, 913-888-6066.
Police Chief John Douglass, 913-327-6635
Police PIO Matt Bregel, 913-327-6937
Fire PIO Jason Rhodes, 816-718-8515 (cell)
Sean Reilly, communications manager, 913-484-4245 (cell)