By ERIC SLAGLE Daily News Staff Writer
It’s starting to feel like spring, but February snowstorms still are on
the minds of Forward Township officials
At a regular meeting of township
supervisors Thursday, the municipality’s response to storms that
crippled the region for days once more was brought into question.
John Keefer, 84, said he was stuck in his home along Wall Road for days
and no one from the township looked in
on him. He asked supervisors if, in the event the region gets hit by
another blizzard, “Can you get the police to stop and tell me that
they’re going to get somebody to open my driveway?” Supervisors said the
township is working with its fire
departments to revise its emergency management plan, and that the
township’s ambulance service, Jefferson
Hills EMS, also plans to gather medical information during subscription
drives that will alert them of residents with medical conditions that
may need special attention during emergencies.
But they said there still is only so much help authorities can provide
in emergency situations.
“They’re going to generate a list of people in the
township who have certain medical conditions that need to
be checked on,” Supervisor Tom Headley said. “As far as our police going
around and knocking
on the doors of everyone who’s elderly or lives alone or whatever, I
don’t know whether that’s feasible. What you need to do is rely on a
neighbor or relative or someone else to check on you, because when there
is a disaster like that, police have enough problems to worry about than
knocking on doors.” Supervisors complained at the meeting that the
township had to use local funds to
clear roads that should have been plowed and salted by the county or
The township hopes it will receive FEMA
funding to help cover the cost of the storms that dumped nearly 30
inches of snow on the region in early February.
In its application to the county, which subsequently was forwarded to
the state for its application to the federal agency,
Forward Township estimated it spent $65,000 as a result of
Headley said he doesn’t have much faith that the state and federal
government will come through with emergency relief funds.
On a related note, supervisors had an item on their meeting agenda to
name a police officer-in-charge, but no action was taken on the measure.
Last August, the township’s longtime
police Chief Tom Staley retired. The township
has yet to appoint a new police chief, citing financial savings of
approximately $125,000 annually as their reason for not doing so.
The police department has four full-time and four part-time officers.
Headley said the township is
considering adopting a plan that would have its officers take on
supervisory duties on a four-month rotational basis.