Poughkeepsie… County Executive William R. Steinhaus reiterated his commitment to Public Safety issues in his opening remarks at the half day Public Official’s Emergency Preparedness Training Workshop at the Farm and Home Center in Millbrook this afternoon.
Leaders and administrators from nearly every town, village, city and school district in the County were in attendance to hear various speakers from the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) and Dutchess County Government Departments. The agenda included information on comprehensive emergency management planning, mitigation and incident management systems.
According to County Executive Steinhaus, “It is critical for local leaders to be knowledgeable, prepared and familiar with all aspects of an integrated response among the numerous local, state and federal resources that might be involved in the case of a large scale emergency or disaster. The effectiveness of the local response will have a significant impact on the overall success of dealing with the incident. The purpose of today’s event is to help facilitate that local preparedness.”
Workshops during the afternoon session reviewed the process for effectively creating an Emergency Preparedness Plan including the SEMO ten step planning process, legal authority and responsibilities of public officials during an emergency, mitigation programs and current activity in the Dutchess County Local Emergency Planning Committee.
“The training session was informative and will be extremely helpful in getting our emergency plan ready to be made operational in the event of a major disaster. The interaction afforded to us by this meeting will minimize the duplication of effort while enhancing the communication and coordination among fire, school, town, and county officials. I appreciate the County Executive initiating this opportunity,” said Robert Liffland, Mayor of the Village of Pawling.
A similar sentiment was expressed by newly elected Town of East Fishkill Supervisor, John Hickman, “As a newly elected official, I am impressed with the extensive resources the county has expended to work with the municipalities, school districts and emergency response agencies to ensure that we are fully prepared for any emergency. This is a terrific program and I greatly appreciate the County Executive bringing us all together.”
John Pennoyer, District Superintendent for BOCES added, “Once again, Dutchess County has taken the lead to plan and prepare for the countywide collaboration critical for all of us in the event of an emergency or disaster. And, once again the County Executive has taken the initiative to make sure our county residents are provided for.”
The County Executive also took the opportunity to brief local officials on the Facilities expansion and upgrade Plan for the County 911 Emergency Operations and Training Center. The Executive’s $6.8 million facilities plan was funded by a unanimous vote of the Dutchess County Legislature this past Monday. The plan will have three phases and total almost $10 million when complete. The initial phase will include a 2-story addition to the Command and Control Center, and enhanced training facilities for first responders.
According to Kyle Eighmy, Chief, Rhinebeck Fire Department, “The information provided to us in the workshop is excellent for preparing emergency plans and the ability to meet with all of the different municipalities and agencies will definitely enhance our ability to work together. We are all excited about the County Executive’s $6.8 million dollar Emergency Operations and Training Center upgrade which will greatly improve the training for our volunteers and allow us to do it locally.”
Mr. Steinhaus also noted for the group of local officials some of his 2006 Executive budget initiatives which includes a County wide public information campaign to help local fire departments recruit and retain more volunteer first responders for their organizations.
“I am committed to ensuring that local leadership is prepared to take the necessary and appropriate actions in response to a major emergency or disaster and today’s training session will help achieve that goal,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.