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Area firefighters assist with Irene recovery

    DUNDEE—On Saturday, Aug. 27, local firefighters marched in the Penn Yan Firemen’s parade. Less than 24 hours later, several parade participants were packing fire department vehicles for a trip downstate to assist with recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
    Dundee fire Chief Ray Miller double checked the department trailer, which was packed full of generators, pumps, chain saws and other equipment. This was not the first time the Dundee department had responded to requests for assistance after natural disasters. In 1977, department representatives assisted in Buffalo after severe snowstorms. Mutual aid was provided in Watertown in 1998 after an ice storm. Several other mutual aid trips have been made over the intervening years.
    Pickup trucks were used to transport equipment in early years. Miller said the trailer now used was added some time later. He recalled hauling equipment to assist after an ice storm in Watertown. Due to the severe weather there, the supplies in the trucks froze. The trailer assures all equipment is dry and secure.
    Representatives from Dundee, Branchport/Keuka Park and Penn Yan fire departments gathered at the Dundee firehouse to prepare for the trip downstate. Volunteers from Himrod Fire Department were to leave to join the group early Monday morning. A group from Middlesex will also go downstate to assist.
    New York State Office of Emergency Management put out the call for help. Yates County Emergency Operations Center Deputy Director Diane Caves contacted local departments for assistance. Caves said the need was for manpower, pumps and chain saws. Lodging would be provided, but volunteers would have to take their own food, bedding and equipment. The first destination was Rockland County, but as conditions changed, the Yates County groups were redirected to Ulster County. Ulster County is north of New York City in the Catskill region.
    Before the group departed, paperwork had to be completed. Yates County Deputy Emergency Coordinator John Murphy handled this task. Caves located information about the group’s evening destination and produced maps to the site.
    The firefighters left Dundee around 4 p.m. They had a trip of five to six hours ahead of them. At 6 a.m. on Monday they were scheduled for their first work assignments. The volunteers have committed to 72 hours of hard work. They are expected to return to Yates County after their three-day project is complete.



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