Fo rward still is thinking about

February snow

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 and residents.

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 state.

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 the snowstorms.

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.


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