Chautauqua County is gearing up to send disaster relief equipment and personnel downstate if requested.
"The most difficult thing is figuring out who can go," which Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone said is a difficult process. "We took the step to put together a list of available firefighters. It's difficult because of work schedules and what their training is," he told the OBSERVER Wednesday night. "I'll have that over the next couple of days."
Leone said he's been contacting fire departments across the county. Some municipalities have specialized vehicles, such as the City of Dunkirk's rescue boat and the Town of Hanover's six-wheel drive flood rescue vehicle. He explained the state has a system which issues daily requests for specific types of services. "If they ask for a rescue crew, then we would have those folks available," because the list he is compiling sorts resources by type and training.
"The state puts out the list, and ... if we can respond (to a specific request), the state determines from what location they would move those assets and where to bring them," he said of the statewide emergency system. He explained it is "a good system" utilized by the state to move resources such as fire trucks and it has been used for other disasters such as hurricanes Lee and Irene.
Firefighters and other emergency workers and equipment would be utilized for a 72-hour deployment, according to Leone.
"Actually what we did was solicit for volunteer services and ... firefighters who would be available to dedicate a 72-hour deployment with manpower and equipment," Leone explained.
Currently, areas across the state hit by disaster are utilizing local resources, but Leone said workers become exhausted and equipment needs maintenance or more is needed, it becomes more likely western New York resources may be requested. "It doesn't mean we would be deployed, but we would be available. As they deplete resources (in other parts of the state) they will reach out across the state," for assistance, he said.
At a special meeting in the Town of Hanover Wednesday, the town board discussed its request. Councilperson Cross suggested any requested resources would be deployed to New York City. Leone said that is possible but would not necessarily be the case. "My feeling is that it would be more like Nassau or Westchester count(ies), but that's just my opinion."
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