Friday, August 5 2022

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Michigan – As West Michiganders prepare for the upcoming snowstorm, local agencies are also bracing behind the scenes.

FOX 17 met with the Kalamazoo County Emergency Management Office to find out how they are preparing to keep people safe.

“It takes a lot of cooperation, a lot of agencies working together. It’s a real community effort, so that’s pretty impressive,” said Andy Alspach, Kalamazoo County Office, Emergency Management Mitigation Planner and responsible for public information.

In Kalamazoo County, preparations for the first winter storm of 2022 was ongoing – especially around the five miles of construction on I-94.

“That’s about $10 million a day of consumption and economic activity that goes through here, and that’s a lot of money. That’s still a lot of moving parts. It’s everyday that we’re on point about it,” Alspach said. .

Factoring in poor driving conditions doesn’t help, according to the bureau.

“We’ve had big problems in the past, and we’d like to avoid that. It was mainly speed, but once there’s an accident, people start looking around, and they lose focus. on the road, and that’s where we have real problems,” said Alspach.

It all starts with the National Weather Service which then communicates with the Kalamazoo County Emergency Management Office, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Kalamazoo County Highway Commission as well as emergency services, fire and the police.

“There is a comprehensive plan to deal with traffic diversions in case we have an accident or a vehicle stuck in the area, because that creates its own problems. we have to close lanes, and so there are a lot of moving parts” , said Alspach.

The Kalamazoo County Emergency Management Office said if you must travel on New Years Day, travel early. But if you can stay off the road, that’s the best bet. If you must drive, keep this message in mind.

“Really, it’s visibility and people slowing down. That’s the most important thing you can do is just slow down,” Alspach said.

READ MORE: Your forecast for West Michigan

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