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Region Copes with Power Outages

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Erie County and Buffalo city emergency services kicked in to full gear to deal with the power outages.

Plenty of precautions were taken during the blackouts. The County Emergency Services Command Center in Cheektowaga was fully manned.

Emergency service workers answered phone calls last night from concerned residents and those in need.

Emergency Coordinator Dave Gick said they did receive calls for generators from some people who rely on power for their health.

"If there is person on a ventilator, they can call us. We can try to work on getting a generator or contact fire control and put them in line the patient that needs a generator," said Gick

All volunteer fire houses were staffed last night. County Executive Joel Giambra offered updates to reporters on the situation. He said the County's 9-1-1 system was not interupted, but officials urged that it be only used for real emergencies. [Cart No: Joel-911 "To the best of my knowledge there have been no unfortunate circumstances or fatalities."

By early last night the Erie County Medical Center was back to full power and Giambra said no other hospital reported problems.

County Emergency Services Commissioner Michael Walters says it really doesn't take much for a hospital back up system to kick in.

"There's an incredibly large volume of high tech equipment at the hospital. One of our day to day communication centers for emergency services is at ECMC.

All the computers and dispatch systems require constant powers. So if there is just the slightest falter the generators go on."

County officials say it appears the North Town area was hit the hardest hit by the black outs.

A Niagara Mohawk representative was on hand last night to assist emergency workers at the command post. Ron Leloneck provided as much information as possible, but could not say what caused the massive outages.

"There's no confirmation whatsoever as to the cause. The utilities in New York State are working on the restoration. And no cause is known at this time.

The City of Buffalo had scattered outages, but was in generally good shape. The Rath building, however, was closed Friday.