Kent urges residents to stay in

Allison Smith

When inclement weather threatens the city of Kent, all officials can do is wait to see what happens, said Eugene Roberts, director of the Public Service Department.

“We, right now, are kind of in a holding pattern like everybody is, until what comes, comes,” he said.

The city is ready to deal with fallen trees and power lines and, as of 5 p.m. Monday night, six salt trucks were on the roads.

“In the event that we need more staff, because six trucks are not enough to keep up, then we’ll call in additional people,” Roberts said. “We’ll work continually until the event is cleaned up.”

The city of Kent issued a parking ban yesterday morning and will continue the ban until the winter storm is over.

“If you’re dealing with a truck carrying several tons of salt, plus the weight of the truck, plus another ton and a half for the plow blade, and you’re trying to drive on ice and salt, you don’t want a target in front of you,” Roberts said.

If a vehicle is parked so the trucks can’t plow the street efficiently, then the police department tries to find the owner. In worst-case scenarios, the car is towed.

Dispatcher Rosemarie Mosher said the Kent City Police responds to what’s happening at the moment, like when the city closed down Summit Street because cars couldn’t make it up the hill.

“The cruisers have chains on the tires so we can make it through the worst of the weather,” she said.

If the power goes out, Mosher said, the American Red Cross or organizations that deal with emergency management can be contacted to find shelter for those who need it.

Sgt. Don Dunbar of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the Portage County department hasn’t bolstered the work shift in preparation for the weather.

“All our people are all on call at all times, so if we need to bring additional officers out, we could just call and have them come out,” Dunbar said.

Dunbar said he hopes people will be extra cautious and have had ample preparation for the storm.

“If they have to come out, be extra cautious and drive slower,” he said. “If you don’t have to come out, then stay at home. Less traffic and less opportunities for things to happen.”

Dunbar said to call-in someone stuck in a ditch rather than pull over to help, unless the person looks like they are in peril and need immediate assistance.

“Sometimes if you stop, and you park your car along the edge, you can’t get completely off the road because of the conditions. That becomes a hazard,” he said. “Plus, you standing out there becomes a danger for yourself, too.”

Roberts said the city salt trucks always plow emergency routes first and then focus on the secondary roads. He said no one should be on the roads unless it’s an emergency.

“All counties in Ohio have the ability to declare stage one, two and three of emergencies for weather,” he said, “but if it gets too bad, they can actually order everybody off the streets.”

In the event of a power outage, Roberts said, don’t wait until the last minute, but call for assistance.

“You just hunker down and get through it,” he said. “If you don’t have to go out, don’t.”

Contact Allison Smith at [email protected].