Friday, October 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm
With a $100,000 grant from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the City of Batavia Fire Department will help expand local emergency response teams and first responders throughout the County with equipment and training to reduce and respond to water emergencies.
The money will equip and train all first responders in Genesee County, to include 17 fire departments, 5 law enforcement agencies and 3 EMS agencies with water rescue awareness training and a basic water emergency response bag. Attica Fire and Police Departments were also included with this grant.
In addition, this grant will also allow the City Fire Department to provide an annual water safety seminar for Genesee County residents to include topics such as: pool safety, open water safety, flooded road safety and what resources are available in Genesee County if you have an emergency.
“In our rural setting it is most likely that a police officer will arrive on location first,” said Lieutenant Bob Fix of the City Fire Dept. and Special Operations Officer responsible for securing the grant. “With the basic kit and training supplied by this grant, an officer will be equipped with the knowledge and equipment to call for more advanced help and to try and affect a safe shore based rescue.”
The City has been providing some level of water rescue protection for over 50 years with minimal training and mostly donated equipment. Recent events in the City and Genesee County over the past several years have prompted more training and better equipment in order to provide adequate and safe response to residents.
City Fire Chief, Jim Maxwell said, “We are pleased to have been awarded this grant through the New York State Homeland Security Program. These funds will be utilized by City Fire and Genesee County first responders to enhance water rescue response capabilities across the county. We would like thank the 24 area Fire, EMS, and Police agencies for their support of this initiative which will provide basic water rescue kits to emergency response vehicles throughout the county.”
All fire departments in Genesee County participate in the Genesee County Mutual Aid Plan. While the City of Batavia Fire Department will be the technician level responders, it is important that local first responders throughout the county are trained and equipped for the initial response. A tiered response partnership not only dramatically increases the capabilities countywide, but does it safely and effectively using manpower from throughout the county.