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Grant funding helps emergency responders form teams across county and city lines

Agencies across New York have received funding to support emergency preparedness. In Erie County, that has led to the ability to form specialized teams that work together across county and city lines.

When visitors to Zoar Valley on the Erie and Cattaraugus County line find themselves in trouble, it often calls for the technical rescue skills of emergency responders to get them out. Those skills are specialized, and take both work and funding to maintain.

Erie County
Erie County Commissioner of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Daniel Neaverth, Jr.

“There's not enough money in the pot for everybody to have their own little specialized team, nor is there the talent base to be able to do that,” explained Daniel Neaverth, Jr., Commissioner of Erie County’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

Neaverth’s department is currently splitting $150,000 with partners in Cattaraugus County. The money comes from the Technical Rescue and Urban Search and Rescue Grant program, paid for by funds from New York State and the federal government.

“So, that was a targeted area,” Neaverth, Jr. said, in regard to the Zoar Valley. “So, this grant that we received has been a grant that we have applied for and been fortunate enough to have been awarded over the course of several years. What we've done is taken it and formed a regional team.”

Similar grant funding for hazardous materials training has helped the two counties team up with the City of Buffalo and Niagara County to standardize training and equipment, so local emergency response departments can work together when needed.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.