LEWIS - An incident management team from California is helping Essex County coordinate its response to Tropical Storm Irene.
"We bring the process, if you will, to manage an incident," said Bruce Martin, team leader of the East Bay Incident Management Team.
The team consists of several San Francisco Bay-area fire departments; Martin is chief of the Fremont fire department. Martin described their role as providing logistical support - coordinating efforts between different agencies, making sure responders in the field have food and supplies.
The Essex County Emergency Operations Center in Lewis is seen Tuesday.
(Enterprise photo — Nathan Brown)
The disaster response is run out of the county's Emergency Operations Center, a room in the Public Safety Building. The room is full of desks and computers, with different agencies such as the state police, the county sheriff's office, the county Department of Public Works, the state Department of Transportation and the Red Cross working there.
The team prepares each day's "Incident Action Plan," which contains daily goals for the various agencies involved in the disaster response. They are briefed on it in the morning, then, after a day's work, reconvene at 4 p.m. to discuss the next day's plan, which the Incident Management Team then puts together.
"I think we would be struggling a lot, lot more if we didn't have these guys here," said Patty Bashaw, manager of the Emergency Operations Center.
"I think it is one of the best assets we could possibly implement in this disaster," said county Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish. "They are professional, very skilled, and trained in what they do, which is logistics management."
Tropical Storm Irene led to flooding and millions of dollars worth of damage in Essex County.
Martin said the team came after a state-to-state mutual aid request from New York to California. Thirty-four team members came to New York, and they split into two groups, with half coming to Lewis and half going to Schoharie County, which was also hard-hit by the storm.
Martin said the team will be here until Friday. They are staying in local motels, he said, in Plattsburgh at first and now in Lake Placid.
Contact Nathan Brown at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.