Equipment, Man Power will Help Crews Weather the Storm

- Wichita County officials say they're prepared to keep you safe during winter weather, but they say learning what it takes to be ready for this type of storm didn't come without its challenges.

Wichita County Sheriff David Duke says, "We'd rather be prepared than not prepared. We've learned from lessons of the past and now we have the equipment, so we're going to use it."

Lessons of the past include those learned during the snow and ice storm of 2009.

"Then we didn't have the kind of equipment we have now," Duke says.

But it's because of that storm that city and county crews say they're prepared to take on this one.

Lee Bourgoin, Wichita County emergency manager, says, "We got a lot of snow. A lot more than what was predicted. It kind of took us by surprise. It was a holiday and all our first responders were at home and they all had a hard time to get out to work."

Larry Krugel, Wichita Falls street superintendent, says, "We learned that we needed to purchase more plows, stockpile more blades for replacement of the cutting edges on our equipment, to have more IceChat available, and obviously we've done all of those things."

And the sheriff's office obtained surplus military vehicles that came at no cost to taxpayers.

"We've added six hummers to our fleet through our military program, the 1033 program. So we have six hummers, a five ton troop carrying truck, and a deuce-and-a-half carrying truck," Duke says.

Couple that with manpower...

"I have crews on until midnight and other crews will come in at midnight and work 12 hours shifts. We'll continue to do that until there's no longer a threat of anything," Krugel says.

"We try to keep the roads clear and we try to keep the critical infrastructures open," Bourgoin says. "That's where our resources are going to be mostly positioned: at fire stations, police stations, county courthouse, Municipal Auditorium, places like that so we can get all the emergency workers in and out."

And officials say they're ready to keep you safe during winter weather.

Even though crews are trying to clear the roads, officials say as temperatures drop, the moisture on the road could freeze, so you need to take precautions if you choose to drive.

They recommend staying off the roads unless you absolutely have to get out there.

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