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Officials say ReadyErie app could "save someone's life"


There are cell phone apps for almost anything, many of them for free. Erie County Executive Poloncarz said there are almost none which can save your life except one-- ReadyErie.

That's a free app available on various app stores for Android or I-Phone systems. It presents all kinds of data to the cell phone operator from shelters if your power goes out to updated conditions of county highways.

Speaking to a news conference yesterday, Poloncarz pointed to a screen much, much larger than your cell.

“Some of the most important information that will be available on ReadyErie that is not available on other places is an active map of Erie County's roads showing exactly what's open, what's closed,” Poloncarz said. “It's constantly modified by our Department of Public Works. So, as you see on the map up there, you see some red squiggly lines at the bottom, that indicates that those roads are closed.”

Obviously that's important information during the storm since going on a road already closed is probably a bad idea with this combination of wind, cold, and snow.

Poloncarz said it isn't just government-people communications but also people to people.

“You will automatically get all warnings and watches that are issued by the National Weather Service through Erie County, basically earlier than the media gets it,” he said. “That's an advantage that we have with the relationship that we have with the National Weather Service. You will also be able to complete a plan so that you put on all of your family's devices so that they can communicate with each other with just one touch.”

Poloncarz said it can also help drivers lost in storms and whiteouts by flashing where in the county the driver is, allowing that driver to call for help and say exactly where the vehicle is on the county's vast road system.

“Instead of going to four or five different web sites and trying to click around, you can find it all at once. As I say, it's the only app that I know of that could potentially save someone's life,” Poloncarz said, “because it gives you the opportunity to get the latest information and you can pinpoint through the actual system that you have. So, if you don't know exactly where you are on the roads, you can go to the highway map and see where your little dot is to show where you are on the highway map.”

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.