As the community is aware, a large ice mass rescue exercise was conducted on Chautauqua Lake last month.
This drill, conducted in part to examine the local, state, and federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional capabilities to prepare for and respond to an aviation/ice disaster, included over 25 participating agencies. Many fire and police departments, along with Hazmat teams, the FAA, Chautauqua County and New York State Office of Emergency Management, the Coroner's office, WCA Hospital, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), Chautauqua County Airport, and the U.S. Coast Guard participated, to name a few.
The American Red Cross of Southwestern New York also participated in the drill. All members of these agencies worked together tirelessly in the cold weather each practicing their individual response plans to help ensure the continued safety of and possible need for assistance to our community.
I would like to take this opportunity to send a very large thank you to Commander Peter Ochocki of the Lakewood American Legion Post 1286, the Ladies Auxiliary from the Lakewood Fire Department, and to the whole crew from the Lakewood Legion who provided the food, and offered their hospitality and warm facility for all of the drill participants at the end of the day. The Legion also provided the hot soup and beverages that were served from our Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle by our Disaster Action Team volunteers at the scene.
The Lakewood Legion was an incredible partner with the Red Cross during this exercise, and we cannot thank them enough for all their help and support!
Our community has an outstanding way of coming together to protect each other during times of need. This drill was simply another confirmation of this. Thank you to everyone involved!
Tina M.Jones is disaster program manager of the American Red Cross Finger Lakes and Western New York Regions.