MAYVILLE - The Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services' Hazardous Materials Response Team recently qualified to receive a $70,552 Hazmat grant through the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
Chautauqua County and its partners were one of a group of regional partnerships across New York state to receive state funding. Hazmat teams from Chautauqua County, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties 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.
From left are County Executive Greg Edwards, Julius Leone Jr., director of Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services; and Daniel Imfeld, deputy fire coordinator for Hazmat from Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services.
"We put the grant together and are responsible for grant administration," said Dan Imfeld, Hazmat deputy fire coordinator from the Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services. "We will also be responsible for purchasing and housing the equipment."
Julius Leone Jr., Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services director, said the 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.
Imfeld said several items will be purchased with the money, 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.
"In the case of a release of hazardous gas, the new detection equipment would allow detection remotely and also plot where the plume of gas would go, allowing the teams to plan potential evacuation areas," Imfeld said.
A resolution to approve the grant funding will be reviewed by the Chautauqua County Legislature at its May 23 meeting. The grant program will run through August 31, 2014, and a Joint Regional Partnership Drill was held recently in Little Valley.
"I would like to congratulate Julius and his team for working collectively with Hazmat teams in our region," said County Executive Greg Edwards. "This grant is an excellent opportunity to strengthen our services and responses to hazardous materials incidents throughout our region and to ensure that residents and Hazmat teams are safe."