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For Immediate Release
April 19, 2018

New York First Responders Conduct Major Exercise to Practice Response to Catastrophic Disaster

Several State Agencies Join FDNY, NYPD, Oneida County Emergency Services, Oneonta FD and Rome FD in Exercise

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today announced that several state agencies, the New York City Fire Department, the New York City Police Department and first responders from the Mohawk Valley conducted the first-ever joint exercise this week to practice a coordinated response to a regional catastrophic event. Involving approximately 400 first responders, the exercise challenged state and local participants from many different agencies to work together during a large-scale incident and related events. The exercise also represented the first time the State Incident Management Team has worked with the New York City Fire Department Incident Management Team to practice cooperation during a coordinated response to a major disaster or emergency.


The five-day exercise utilized the numerous training venues at the world-class New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. Now in its 12th year of operation, the State Preparedness Training Center annually trains thousands of first responders from law enforcement, search and rescue, technical rescue and emergency medical services from across the state. The exercise began on Monday, April 16 and concludes on Friday, April 20.


For the exercise, a team developed a scenario involving a series of tornadoes that touched down in the Oneida County area. As a result, the first responders responded to the tornadoes, as well as to multiple related incidents that occurred afterward. The combined incidents required a collaborative response from first responders, local, state and regional resources. The two incident management teams were responsible for effectively managing the incidents.


“The State Incident Management Team ensures that first responders and other public safety professionals respond to major disasters in a rapid and coordinated fashion,” said Roger L. Parrino Sr., Commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “This type of exercise helps ensure that leaders of the incident management teams can respond to a large, complex incident over a vast geographical area.”


Due to the complexity of the exercise, two incident management teams helped lead the response efforts. Within the exercise, the State Incident Management Team had authority and responsibility for managing the incident and resources responding within the Rome, New York area, and the New York City Fire Department Incident Management Team assumed authority and responsibility through the state to manage the incident and resources within the Utica area.


In addition to responding to the initial tornadoes at the start of the exercise, the first responders also trained to provide a coordinated response to incidents involving:


  • Water Rescues
  • Air Operations/Drone usage
  • Canine Search Units
  • Oneida County Emergency Operations Center Activation
  • Active Shooter Response
  • Wide Area Search
  • Tactical Rescues
  • Hazardous Materials Incidents


For example, during the active shooter response scenario, teams from the New York City Police Department and New York City Fire Department formed a ‘Rescue Task Force’ to practice quickly treating injured civilian role players. This is the first-time teams from the new NYPD and FDNY joint Rescue Task Force have trained together at the State Preparedness Training Center. Troopers from the New York State Police also participated in the active shooter scenario as well.


Sixty New York National Guard members participated in the week-long emergency response exercise. Both of New York’s 22-member Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams participated in the exercise. Known as Civil Support Teams, or CST for short, the teams are made up of Army and Air National Guard members who are trained to detect, analyze and identify unknown chemical, biological or radiological substances.


The teams are equipped with specialized protective suits, and specialized test equipment and vehicles. The 2nd Civil Support Team is based at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, while the 24th Civil Support Team is headquartered at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn. The 24th CST focuses mainly on operations in New York City, while the 2nd CST is focused on operations in upstate New York and throughout the northeast.


The 174th Attack Wing, based at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, provided 10 members of the wing’s security forces squadron and a three-person emergency management cell. The emergency management team operates a mobile command post which is maintained by the wing.


The 224th Air Defense Group, a part of the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome, N.Y., also contributed security forces personnel to the exercise.


Participating in the drill allowed National Guard leadership to gain experience in working with the New York City Fire Department, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and other state agencies.


“Training with state and local emergency responders gives our soldiers and airmen the opportunity to learn how other agencies work, while sharpening their own skills,“ said Major General Anthony German, the Adjutant General of New York.  “Participating in an exercise like this is always valuable.”


“State Parks’ utmost priority is the safety of our visitors,” said New York State Park Police Chief David Page. “By participating in these simulated training exercises alongside other law enforcement agencies, our dedicated team continue to hone their skills for coordinating and responding to a variety of scenarios.”   


"Preparedness, organization, and coordination are key in any emergency response, and exercises like this ensure that New York is ready and able to deal with anything that threatens our communities, environment, and security,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Bringing together local and state agencies to conduct emergency exercises will better equip our first responders in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.”


Oneida County Emergency Services Director Kevin Revere said, “Oneida County continues to work with local and state partners to share ideas and sharpen skills in the event of a catastrophic event.  Bringing first responders to the state-of-the-art training center here in Oneida County has proven once again that a standardized response from well-trained police, fire and medical personnel is essential to the well-being of every New Yorker.  We look forward to New York State offering more training opportunities to first responders at the State Preparedness Center.”


Participating agencies include:


Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services-State Preparedness Training Center

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services-Office of Emergency Management

New York State Incident Management Team

New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control

New York State Task Force 2-Urban and Technical Search and Rescue Team

New York State Police

New York State Police Aviation

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-Division of Forest Protection

New York State Park Police

New York Army and Air National Guard

New York National Guard Civil Support Team

New York City Fire Department Incident Management Team

New York City Fire Department-Counter Terrorism Task Force

New York City Fire Department-Special Operations Command Support Ladder Companies

New York City Police Department-Emergency Service Unit

New York City Police Department-Special Response Group

Oneida County Department of Emergency Services

Oneonta Fire Department

Rome Fire Department

Utica Fire Department

Whitesboro Fire Department



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