Opinion

Auburn is storm ready, are you? | Mayor's corner

Auburn is a StormReady City. Our certification through the National Weather Service (NWS) establishes Auburn's commitment to creating an infrastructure and systems that will save lives and protect property when severe weather strikes.

As of Nov. 15, all public works and parks facility vehicles were equipped with winter gear. We've added battery backup and three small generators to run target traffic signals if the power should go out.

We're doing our best to prepare for winter, and I want to encourage you to get ready too.

During the rainy months, you can help by clearing leaves and debris away from the storm drains in your neighborhood. This helps to stop localized flooding. When the weather gets really bad, you can help yourselves to sand for your driveways or your local streets. Sand piles will be located at five different locations in the city: South 296th Street, South 316th Street, 124th Ave. SE, 12th Street SE and Sunset Park.

We work hard to try to keep the major routes on the hillsides clear but we need you to lend a hand on the side roads.

The City is taking full advantage of new technology to make sure you get real-time information. For routine road closures, check out the traffic information map at www.auburnwa.gov/maps. You can actually click on the cameras to see the condition of a particular street.

Also on the same website, we've posted our snow and ice route map. You might want to study it in advance to see which priority streets will be plowed and treated during severe winter weather.

During severe weather, we're also asking motorists to plan routes carefully and avoid steep and untended roadways. If you should get stuck, please stay with your vehicle and call 911. The City has emergency assistance teams that can help stranded motorists and senior citizens or disabled citizens at home who need help.

The City also will notify residents when there is a widespread emergency in Auburn. Our Code Red system, an automatic phone notification system, will call your home phone number to alert you of the emergency. You are automatically in the system if you are a city resident and have a landline. If you do not have a land line or would like to register other phone numbers (i.e. cell number or a work number), you can add them at www.auburnwa.gov/codered. There's no limit to the amount of phone numbers you may register.

Another thing we're doing to get ready for winter storms is contacting our partners and opening lines of communication. We've been in touch with both King and Pierce County to find out which major highways they'll keep open during severe weather. We've also talked with Puget Sound Energy to make sure we know who to call when power lines go down. Other partners include Valley Regional Fire Authority, Auburn School District and MultiCare Auburn Medical Center; and we've been working with the neighborhoods to make sure they know where to go to find those who might need help and how to help each other.

Our city is storm ready and ready to respond during a winter weather event. Are you? You can find out how to prepare yourself and your family by visiting www.auburnwa.gov/services/emergency_preparedness.

Reach Mayor Pete Lewis at 253-931-3041 or plewis@auburnwa.gov

 


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