State fire members deploy to North Carolina ahead of Hurricane Dorian
BY KATE MOSTACCIO
As Hurricane Dorian bore down on the United States, all along the southern East Coast states prepared for the worst and hoped for the best.
Through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), New York State fire PEF members were asked to prepare for deployment wherever they were needed and fire protection specialists from the Special Operations Branch immediately went to work checking equipment and prepping for departure.
“As forecasts changed, we ended up being requested by the state of North Carolina to provide two, Type 2 Water Rescue Packages,” said PEF Fire Protection Specialist Chris Johnson. “On Sept. 4, 34 members left Albany enroute to Raleigh, North Carolina. This 34-member team consisted of 21 fire protection specialists, seven Task Force 2 members (made up of firefighters from the Albany area) and six DEC forest rangers.”
Upon arrival in North Carolina, Johnson said the team was put in a staging area for much-needed rest. “Later that morning, we were briefed and forward deployed to Kinston, North Carolina in anticipation of help being needed by the communities along the coast,” Johnson said. “We spent the next two days at the Kinston Armory waiting out the storm and preparing for whatever help might be needed.”
During the wait, PEF members kept busy.
“Members trained on the various equipment and had a chance to interact with some of the other teams that were staging nearby,” Johnson said. “To have the opportunity to apply the skills we work on every day during the course of our jobs and be ready to help those in need was an awesome experience.”
In the end, unlike the Bahamas, which faced massive damage from Dorian, the Carolinas were spared a direct hit. “North Carolina was extremely fortunate to only have a glancing blow from Hurricane Dorian and our team was not needed,” Johnson said.
The team headed home, ready to answer the next call. “It was an honor to be able to represent the Office of Fire Prevention and Control and the state of New York as a member of New York Task Force 2 and to stand ready to help those who might have been affected,” Johnson said.
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