Stockade residents want more efficient flood alerts

Photo Credit: Lauren Linder, NEWS10 ABC

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As people living in the Stockade District are cleaning up from flooding, many are wondering why they weren’t alerted by the county’s notification system.

That’s right, residents here are wondering what will happen the next time the Stockade District floods and if they’ll get a text or call on their phones?

“It was a wild ride for the whole day,” said Owen Harris, who lives in the Stockade.

Wednesday morning, ice jams caused the Mohawk River to overflow and flood part of Ingersoll Avenue; something Owen Harris isn’t used to having just moved to the Stockade District with his girlfriend back in June.

“We tried to stay positive but it was a little scary. The water was everywhere,” Harris said.

After experiencing their first flood here about a month ago, his girlfriend registered for the Schenectady County Emergency notification system so they could be kept up to date. But, they never got a call or text to evacuate.

“We didn’t get a single alert so that was, it was confusing. We really didn’t know what to do,” Harris said.

Neither did Bob Ritter or his neighbors on Ingersoll Avenue.

“My neighbors a few of them, I know signed up for it and I did. No one ever received anything,” Ritter said.

Instead, they received a knock on their door from the fire department.

“They wanted to go door to door, because you never know if an automated phone call or if a text message is actually going to be seen by the resident,” said Joe McQueen, Schenectady County Director of Public Relations.

McQueen said first responders are responsible for deciding to send out notifications and because the flooding only impacted a handful of homes they decided it wasn’t needed.

“If the entire Stockade was going to be flooded then we probably would have gone out with a broader message,” McQueen said.

But, residents say that wasn’t explained to them and they hope this system can be improved.

“It’s a great thing to have it if it worked for young renters or who are at work and don’t pay mind, you know the river can come up instantaneously,” Ritter said.

“It would be nice to be able to count on alerts; that’s for sure,” Harris said.

McQueen said right now the system can only target zip codes or neighborhoods, it can’t target specific homes.

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