Posted at: 08/21/2012 11:11 PM
| Updated at: 08/22/2012 12:09 AM
By: Beth Wurtmann
HUDSON - Howard Brandston was among many Columbia County residents at a meeting Tuesday night, upset that they didn't get a quick or personal warning about a massive industrial fire near their homes.
"Nobody called me. Nobody said anything. Finally it got up on TV. "Holy Smokes!" he said.
"I live in Hudson and I found out about it the next morning on the news," said Claudia Bruce, a resident, saying that was not good enough.
They came to a meeting of the Columbia County Public Safety Committee, to see what supervisors would do in the face of many complaints.
Residents said they didn't get phone calls about staying inside as chemicals from the TCI recycling plant burned and smoke filled the air. Instead the County posted warnings on a Facebook page, and counted on the media to spread the word .
"I stood up and said, 'look we blew it.' I think a lot of us on the board should say 'we blew it,'" Supervisor William Hughes told his colleagues.
Supervisors admitted that they hadn't given county emergency teams the right tools to notify the public properly. But after considering a number of options, they voted to recommend a new system, called CODE RED, which will contact residents by phone and other alert options in a disaster.
"We will have it next week. I'm confident we will have it so I'd like the residents to think, they can rest assured that we'll have this program going forward," said Roy Brown, Chair of the Public Safety Committee.
Brandston said the move doesn't answer all his concerns about the TCI fire, but it's a start.
"They're willing to spend the money. At least it's a step for ward that there's a level of responsibility and it's being covered," he said after the vote.
Supervisors also said they want to expand the State's notification program called NY Alerts.http://www.nyalert.gov/
The Code Red system would cost just under 22-thousand-dollars-a-year.
A vote on whether to buy it will be taken up by the full Columbia County Board of Supervisors, at a special meeting scheduled for next Monday night.