New York revises snowfighting plans
As New York prepared for more snow this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised a better response to the storm than what was seen when a blizzard swept through the city on Christmas weekend. The city’s response to that holiday snowstorm drew large amounts of criticism and led to the replacement of the city’s Emergency Medical Service Command (EMSC) chief.
Bloomberg held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the city’s new preparations for snow storms. The mayor said the city had made several changes to personnel and procedures in response to the lackluster response to the Christmas storm. “While I realize there were problems with the city’s snow cleaning efforts last week, we want to ensure all New Yorkers that we are doing everything in our power to make sure we don’t experience those kinds of problems again,” Bloomberg said. “We plan to do a great job, the kind of job that the public has come to expect us to do.”
On Jan. 5, Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano announced that 25-year Fire Department of New York (FDNY) veteran Abdo Nahmod would be the city’s new EMSC chief, replacing Chief John Peruggia. “Despite Chief Peruggia’s dedicated service to this department, I felt new leadership was needed at this time,” Cassano said in a statement. “Last week’s blizzard presented tremendous challenges for the department that are currently being addressed with an eye toward improving performance going forward.”
Bloomberg also mentioned Peruggia’s replacement. “I think last week’s storm exposed problems in the way it’s operated, and I decided to make changes to EMSC,” the mayor said. “I just thought that it was time to have a fresh look, and since things didn’t work out as well as we had hoped, it’s time to have somebody else come in, and sometimes a new guy can do it better.”
The mayor also said the city had 1,700 snow plows and 365 salt spreaders ready to respond to storms, and some of them would hit the streets carrying new technology to track their performance. “To help improve communication during our response, we also are piloting a program in which we are installing GPS tracking devices in 50 sanitation trucks assigned to the ‘Brooklyn 14’ garage,” Bloomberg said.