Township Mulls Communications Options During Blackouts

SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP -- It's not a problem you expect to have in 2018 -- no power, no cell phone service, no internet.

It happened at the beginning of this month when two winter storms pummeled the Poconos.

"It was difficult. It was very difficult," said Marie Steeger, Smithfield Township.

Officials in Smithfield Township are now looking at different ways to communicate with residents during total blackouts.

One possibility is a tool many people already have access to.

"Maybe it's time to go back to basics. Basics is, let's forget about everything we think is a modern communications device and maybe the FM radio is the only thing we can depend on," said Robert Lovenheim, Smithfield Township.

Township officials are looking at possibly using and expanding the already existing Shawnee Presbyterian Church low-power FM station near Marshalls Creek as an emergency broadcast channel for township announcements.

"If we used that station and put one tower of the top of Brushy Mountain, maybe we can reach everyone in the township," said Lovenheim.

"We are trying to make sure we have a system to communicate, especially in Smithfield Township but really in eastern Monroe County," said Brian Barrett, Smithfield Township Supervisor.

Some residents we spoke to say this is a very good idea because as they learned from the last winter storm, you can't always rely on technology.

The solution means residents would need to buy a hand-cranked radio or use a car radio to get alerts.

Township officials are even looking at the possibility of buying radios in bulk.

Marie Steeger says she has already considered buying one of these radios.

"I have family members that own them, I am hoping to get one myself. I just had to rely on faith and sometimes that is not enough," said Steeger.

Smithfield Township officials say this solution is still in the early stages and they also want resident feedback for any other solutions that might be available.

1 Comment

  • jimbrony

    Yeah, excellent idea. I’m going to sit out in my car during a winter storm so I can get an alert over the radio. Seriously? Alert for what? That there’s a winter storm and there’s no power? Brilliant.

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