Team Rubicon Continues to Dig Out Erie
Erie County announced that United Way's 2-1-1 call center has stopped taking calls for snow removal help. Team Rubicon is still working hard to help people in our area who are not able to remove snow from their homes.
It was the end of another day of work for Team Rubicon, who has been assisting those in need in the Erie area after last week's record snowfall.
"People that can't really get out and move the snow themselves, they might be say in a wheel chair, or on oxygen, anything like that, we like to call them the people that are at risk," explained Mathiew Sanders, Incident Commander for Operation Misery Bay of Team Rubicon.
Sanders said the team has been hard at work since their arrival last Thursday, clearing snow for over 200 homes so far, but they're not done yet. They still have over 600 homes left to go.
After starting with three volunteers, they're up to 30, and with four to five teams, he believes their goal is doable.
"When you multiply that out, we're looking between 50 and 60, up to 70 to 80 houses, or addresses, that we can service everyday," said Sanders. Typically, a home takes a team 15 to 30 minutes to clear out.
Over the past few days they've improved their efficiency, being able to service more homes in an area, thanks to a software that groups addresses and creates routes for the teams.
"When I run the addresses, I'll actually tell it only give me addresses that are within zone H, then I can tell it give me drive from the fire station to each address, the most effective route, and it'll actually plan the whole route for me," explained Caleb Dixon, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator for Millcreek Township.
With help from officials, they've been monitoring the 27 zones, primarily in the City of Erie and Millcreek Township.
Although they're making great progress, the team's biggest challenge has been the ice and the cold temperatures. Officials have made the volunteer's safety a top priority, to prevent any cold weather injuries.
"If the feels like temperature reaches negative eighteen, or the wind chill reaches negative eighteen, they will pull all of their people out of the field, until the temperature comes up to a safe and acceptable level," said Dixon.
Unless its too cold, Team Rubicon will be out helping residents, seven days a week, until Friday, January 12th.
Team Rubicon will be recruiting volunteers in Erie. Local team members will be at Lavery Brewery from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 18th. For more information or to donate to Team Rubicon, https://teamrubiconusa.org/.
Also, if you are concerned that your roof is going to collapse from the amount of snow, Caleb Dixon said to call 911, not 211. "Once they call 911, they'll get triaged through the normal process and either the fire department will get dispatched, or they will dispatch a building inspector to come out and take a look at it."