New Preston County Emergency Response App Available 1 Year After - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

New Preston County Emergency Response App Available 1 Year After Superstorm Sandy

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One paper map used during Sandy still hangs in Preston County's OEM, it's marking show the Red Cross food drop-off route. One paper map used during Sandy still hangs in Preston County's OEM, it's marking show the Red Cross food drop-off route.
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KINGWOOD -

It's been one year since Superstorm Sandy sent West Virginia into a state of emergency.

Sandy dumped over two feet of snow in some areas, brought down tress, and left Preston County recovering for months.

"Trees had fallen across the road, and you're walking in snow, over tree limbs. So it was a very dangerous environment," said Major Robert Kincaid of the West Virginia National Guard.

On the front lines of recovery was the Army National Guard, clearing roadways, debris and even using air support on two rescue missions.

"We could actually see where families members, when we were using the Blackhawk, had tried to get in and help them and cut there way in, but got stuck," said Maj Kincaid.

Each inch of progress the guard made was recorded on paper.

Officials filling Preston County's Emergency Operations Center used crayons and markers each day updating paper maps, marking where progress was made, where crews would be deployed, and areas that hadn't been touched at all.

More than 100 maps were used.

"We didn't have a real time look at what the road situation was," said Clark Nicklow of Preston County 911." Every night they would have an nightly meeting, and get a paper map and draw on it what roads were open and what roads were closed."

The new Preston County Emergency Response App solves that. The custom-made computer program combines maps, satellite images, and county databases into one, allowing users to mark road statuses and map damage reports.

"Whoever is in charge of operations at the time can come in look at the map and get a feel for things instantly," Nicklow said.

The map helps emergency crews stay more organized, which should help speed up response and recovery times. It also helps state and federal agencies assess damages.

"For me to describe to you that we have 'x' number of damaged houses or closed roads, it's much more convenient and effective for me to send you a map with all that information on it," Nicklow said.