MAYVILLE - Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services' Hazardous Materials Response Team recently qualified to receive a HazMat Grant for $70,552 through the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES).
The DHSES announced in March that Chautauqua County and its partners were one of a select group of regional partnerships across New York State to receive State funding. HazMat Teams from Chautauqua County, Cattaraugus County, Allegany County and the Seneca Nation of Indians came together to form a regional partnership and won the grant that will enable them to purchase HazMat and counter terrorism equipment to enhance the regional teams' response capabilities.
In order to apply for the 2011 grant, two or more HazMat teams in New York State had to work together to jointly apply for funding. After collaborating with the other regional HazMat teams, Chautauqua County's HazMat team was selected as the lead agency for the grant program.
Director of Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services Julius Leone, Jr., said this grant is used to encourage regional cooperation. Therefore, training will include all the participating agencies. While Chautauqua County will house the equipment, the other partners will use the equipment when there is a need.
Dan Imfeld, Deputy Fire Coordinator for HazMat from the Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services, said several items will be purchased with these funds including decontamination equipment, intrinsically safe interoperable radios, and Level A chemical suits to replace older ones. They would also upgrade detection equipment with wireless connectivity.
A resolution to approve these funds was reviewed by the Chautauqua County Legislature at the May 23 Meeting. The grant program will run through Aug. 31, 2014 and a Joint Regional Partnership Drill was just conducted on May 3 in Little Valley, N.Y.
HazMat teams respond to many types of incidents, including those involving poisons, flammable liquids and gases. The threat of terrorism has placed higher expectations on the state's HazMat Teams, which continually prepare for terrorism-related incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive agents.