Thursday, August 06, 2009

First alarm newsletter

To: All Ulster County Emergency Services
From: Art Snyder
Date: August 3, 2009
Re: News and Information

Heart Safe Communities – Ulster County has joined the American Heart Association in promoting Heart Safe Communities. Your organization, as well as your town, civic group, local businesses, schools, etc, can receive the Heart Safe designation (and we know most emergency service organizations already meet the criteria). Simply fill out the application that can be found at You will be provided signage to indicate you are Heart Safe and you will be included in all promotions identifying Heart Safe locations.

Propane Emergency Response Training – SAVE THE DATE! The Propane Gas Association, along with Paraco Gas Corporation will conduct emergency response training for propane gas incidents. On October 15 and 16 (from 7-9 PM) there will be classroom training at the Napanoch firehouse. On Saturday October 17 (from 8 AM to 4 PM) we will move to the SUPSA training center for hands-on training. This is an excellent opportunity to receive instruction from experts in the propane field. More information and registration details will follow.

Radio system – In an on-going attempt to replace / enhance our radio system(s), we continue to look at all options now that the Statewide Wireless Network is officially dead. Since most grant opportunities look very favorably on regional approaches, we recently hosted a meeting of Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain counties. We heard presentations from several state agencies and radio equipment vendors. Without question this is a very expensive undertaking – even with a regional approach and after securing grant funding. As we move forward we are very cognizant of the fact that 1) we must replace this antiquated collection of systems that lack coverage and features, and 2) whatever solution is proposed must be affordable to both the County and to the end users.

Rainfall – There is no question that this summer has been one of the wettest in memory. Thus far precipitation is on average 7” above normal for the months of June and July, the New York City reservoir system is more than 8% above normal for this “dry” time of year, and many soils are completely saturated to the point there is standing water in places where this rarely occurs. All this means that the remnants of a tropical system have the potential to have a devastating effect on our area.

Recruitment and Retention – The program is moving forward. Two of the four regional kick off meetings have been held, a new web domain has been created for the program:, press releases and advertisements (both radio and print) have been placed, and the Chamber of Commerce’s Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) is being presented to area businesses. The VIP will roll out around Labor Day, and we are looking for a countywide open house on the first day of Fire Prevention Week – October 4. If your organization has not identified someone as the point person for this program, please do so immediately. There are still two kick off meetings yet to take place – Thursday August 6 at Ulster Hose and Thursday August 20 at Woodstock Co 5. Both begin at 7 PM.

Water emergencies / dive team calls – The dive teams operated by the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and Ulster Hose routinely train and work together. However, there have been some incidents recently where only one of these teams was requested – this resulted in a response that brought together less than the required resources (equipment and manpower). In order for a quicker, more efficient response that mobilizes all necessary resources, I’m urging you to review your run cards that we have on file, and consider adding Ulster Hose to the assignment for water emergency calls. With countywide jurisdiction the Sheriff’s Office will be responding regardless, but we cannot send Ulster Hose under mutual aid unless it is either requested ahead of time (preplan) or in real time. Please see the enclosed letter from these organizations and consider establishing this protocol.