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Legislators propose database for future emergencies

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

During the Snowvember storm, emergency workers were busy, ferrying people stuck in their homes to medical treatment. Officials are now developing a plan to have a list of those needing long-term help.


County Legislator Lynne Dixon lives in Hamburg, heart of the storm. She says emergency workers spent a lot of time helping the chronically ill, from taking them medicine to getting people to kidney dialysis. The legislator took a lot of phone calls while snowed in herself and checked in with the appropriate people to get help for those who needed it. She says the problem is figuring out who is under the radar at getting help. Dixon says emergency services need help to provide help.

"A voluntary database where if somebody is getting dialysis, they can voluntarily sign up for this database that would allow first responders and allow the county to know better where these people live," Dixon said.

"If..there's a storm like this again, that we know where these people are and that they need to get that assistance."

Dixon says voluntary is important because that keeps it away from federal health data privacy rules which would be triggered by a mandatory database.

The proposal will go to committee where the Health and Emergency Services Departments can come in and talk about what happened and how to prevent problems in the future.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.