Nearly 130 1st Responders, O&R Drill Emergency Action Plan

Nearly 130 tri-state first responders fanned out from the Joint Incident Command Center at the Matamoras Fire Dept. headquarters last Saturday morning to five separate locations throughout the community to test their skills in emergency response.

The exercise was sponsored by Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. in cooperation with over a dozen separate emergency services agencies from Pike, Orange and Sussex counties.
The exercise was designed to update the utility’s and its community emergency responder partners’ working knowledge of long-held standard operational and safety practices and protocols under real-life conditions.

The exercise also provided an opportunity for O&R to field test newly developed response plans and to brief its community first responder partners on how those new plans relate to their work.

O&R’s Senior Emergency Management Specialist Gene Reynolds said drills such as this past weekend's allow operations teams from the utility company, hospitals, fire departments, police, and others that routinely interact in emergencies to get to know each other and prepare as well as possible in advance.
"We want to respond as quickly and effectively as possible during dangerous situations," Reynolds said. "Drills and advance planning allow us to alert people in advance and be ready when an emergency happens."

As a tune up for the field exercise, O&R sponsored a successful emergency response tabletop exercise with most of the key organizations at the Matamoras Fire Department Headquarters on October 8.

In addition to O&R and its sister utility Con Edison, participating organizations are: the Matamoras Office of Emergency Management and Fire Department, the New York State Office of Emergency Management, Bon Secours Community Hospital, the Town of Deer Park, the Sparrowbush Fire Department, Westfall Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management, Pike County Public Safety and the Office of Emergency Management, Orange County Office of Emergency Management, Eastern Pike Regional Police Department, Montague (N.J.) Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management, the Delaware Valley School District, the Port Jervis Office of Emergency Management & Fire Department and Time-Warner Cable.