Flood Summit Outlines Response And Rescue

By Justin Moss

July 22, 2010 Updated Feb 28, 2008 at 7:18 PM EDT

A Flood Summit brings people to Binghamton to develop plans to warn, respond, and even prevent damage.

In recent years New York has suffered through 9 major floods declared Federal Disaster Areas.

What do emergency responders need to alert and rescue people?

From air rescues in June, to water rescues in November, 2006 brought two floods and plenty of experience for rescue workers.

"Yeah, we're definitely more ready now then we were then," says Brett Chellis.

Chellis leads Broome County's Emergency Services Department.

He says the county's taken a number of steps to prepare for another disaster.

"We've had several fire departments that have stepped up their water rescue capabilities, obtained training in swift water rescue, obtained grants for equipment," says Chellis.

Sergeant Al Garcia is part of the New York State Police Dive team.

At the summit he showed pictures of rescuing people like here in Conklin,
and searching for people during flash flooding last year in Delaware County.

All thanks to swift water boats that can glide along water and ice.

"We're hoping to acquire several more because nothing can do the job that they do in a flood situation," says Garcia.

Responders say a critical part of response is proper training.

Bryant Stevens works with the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, which responds to disasters across New York.

He says anyone can be trained to help during a disaster.

"Maybe sometimes we can reach through and find folks, maybe managers of a non-emergency response entity and within government that can assist in managing," says Stevens.

Workers say with the right training and equipment to match, responders are ready to tackle floods in the future.

Chellis says during the June 2006 flood, thousands of people were rescued and taken to safety.

That includes more than one thousand people who were flown out of Conklin by helicopter.

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