First Responders Step Up to Help in Downstate Disaster

Starting in late August, the Erie County Department of Emergency Services was requested by the New York State Office of Fire Prevention & Control under the Statewide Fire Mutual Aid and Mobilization Plan to respond and assist Fire Departments in Eastern NY Counties to help mitigate a disaster caused by Tropical Storms Irene and Lee.

On Sunday, August 28, 2011 Emergency Services Staff began polling Erie County Fire Departments for resources to assist the affected Counties. A total of 28 Fire Departments supplying 50 fire department pieces of apparatus were deployed by Emergency Services from August 28th through September 19th.

These deployments also included Fire Department Ambulances and Swift Water Rescue Teams. A total of 187 first responders coordinated by Emergency Services staff on scene spent over 50,000 operational hours helping neighboring fire departments assist residents in communities devastated by the disaster.

The Counties that filed disaster declarations where Erie County Fire Department resources assisted were: Ulster, Schoharie, Broome, and Tioga. Erie County First Responders operational assignments included responding to 911 calls by staffing fire stations using local and Erie County fire apparatus. Calls answered during the deployments included structure fires, hazardous material spills, motor vehicle crashes, swift water rescues, and requests for emergency medical care.

Erie County First Responders also pumped water from residential/business basements, provided tree/household debris removal and delivered water, food and medical supplies to residents and shelters.

The State Office of Emergency Management also requested assistance from the Western District Emergency Management Assistance Team (WDEMT) to support affected County Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) in both planning and logistics. Erie County sent ICS trained personnel who are part of the WDEMT to assist with those functions both in Orange and Broome Counties.

Emergency Services will be inviting all of the First Responders who were involved in the deployments to an After Action conference to discuss the positives and improvements needed in order to prepare for the next disaster response. Emergency Services would like to express our sincere appreciation to all the Erie County First Responders for their efforts and personal sacrifices endured while assisting Eastern New York Counties’ First Responders and residents in their time of need.



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