SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — “We respond to disasters and emergencies, and work hand-in-hand with all the other agencies,” replied John S. Hauschild, Sullivan County Fire Coordinator 53-1 …
SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — “We respond to disasters and emergencies, and work hand-in-hand with all the other agencies,” replied John S. Hauschild, Sullivan County Fire Coordinator 53-1 when asked about disaster preparedness in the local region.
The Sullivan County Division of Public Safety is “charged with ensuring the safety and security of the citizens and government” of the county, and includes the Bureau of Fire, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the Office of Emergency Management/Homeland Security, and the 911 Center.
“In a disaster, we all come together, and activate the emergency operations center here at the Emergency Services Training Center”, he added.
The training center, located near Swan Lake, is under the supervision of Hauschild in his role of training coordinator, and serves fire, EMS, law enforcement (sheriff, state and local), and county government, providing in-service training. That includes how to respond to disasters, either natural or terrorist-inspired.
As an example of how multiple agencies work together in a natural disaster, he cited the storm on March 2018. Power companies teamed up with highway department crews to clear the roadways and restore power after high winds and heavy snowfall blocked roads and downed trees, which caused many electric lines to snap, cutting power to thousands of residents.
“We had NYSEG, Orange & Rockland and Central Hudson working with local highway departments. The county DPW [Department of Public Works] and state [Department of Transportation] assigned crews to go out and work together… If the power companies couldn’t get to their lines because the roads weren’t plowed, the guys couldn’t plow the roads because the lines were hot and trees were down… Everybody had to work together to make it safe.”
On the critical importance of disaster preparedness, Hauschild said, “People need to be aware of situations that could happen.” Common examples are fires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, lightning, thunderstorms, tornadoes, wildfires, extreme heat and winter weather, he said.
In addition to natural disasters, folks should be aware of the life-disrupting effects of cyberattacks and terrorist threats, both domestic and foreign.
Recalling the effects of Superstorm Sandy, the tail end of a hurricane that battered the region with high winds and rainfall, he noted that many residents were forced to use generators. If you use one, “make sure you have gas or propane… If you’re out of power for a couple of days, you don’t want to run out of fuel.”
Hauschild noted that New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services has published a comprehensive guide on how to prepare and survive emergencies titled “Emergency Information Handbook.”
“People need to be prepared before an emergency happens, and be aware of what can happen,” he said.
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