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June 30, 2006

Oswego County EMS and Fire Crews Help Out in Southern Tier

Oswego County usually makes the Weather Channel for its massive snowstorms. But the region was mentioned in a different light Thursday when it was noted on the Weather Channel that ambulance crews from Oswego County were helping to evacuate patients from Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton.

Two crews from Northern Oswego County Ambulance (NOCA) in Pulaski were the first out-of-county ambulance corps to arrive in Binghamton when the request for assistance went out, said Miranda Driesen, Emergency Medical Services Coordinator for the Oswego County Health Department.

“I was asked by the state Emergency Medical Services Bureau on Wednesday to see if we could send any personnel to Broome County,” said Driesen. “They were looking for advanced life support and ambulance assistance. NOCA responded in a big way.”

Rich Duvall, NOCA director, said that within 45 minutes of activating their call-in procedure, more than 20 NOCA members stepped forward. Two crews of two people each left for Binghamton and were immediately put to work evacuating patients from Lourdes Hospital, located along the Susquehanna River. The corps was mentioned on the Weather Channel and in a front-page article in Thursday’s Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin.

They assisted in moving more than 80 patients from Lourdes to Wilson Hospital in Binghamton. When they finished evacuating patients, the NOCA crews were sent to provide emergency medical assistance at a flood shelter on the SUNY Binghamton campus. They returned Thursday, and NOCA sent four more members down to answer emergency medical calls in the city of Binghamton.

“When I requested assistance, there was no hesitation from NOCA’s director,” said Driesen. “They were the only company that was able to send someone. It is very difficult because many of the corps rely on volunteers who work during the day. Their actions show the dedication of our EMS providers, to supply mutual aid not only in our own county, but in other areas whenever it’s needed.”

In addition to the ambulance crew, Oswego County fire services have also been helping with flood assistance.

County Fire Coordinator John Hinds said four departments left early Friday morning for the City of Oneonta in Otsego County. Caughdenoy, Pennellville, Phoenix, and Volney each provided two to three firefighters with pumps, generators, chainsaws and other equipment.

Firefighters from Scriba, Minetto, Mexico, Cleveland, Central Square, and West Monroe went to Herkimer County Wednesday.

Russ Johnson, Oswego County Legislature Chairman, said their actions are typical of Oswego County’s emergency responders.

“We live in a community where people are more than willing to help others in times of need,” said Legislature Chairman Johnson. “These people stepped up to the plate, and did what was asked of them. I am very proud of them and the good work they are doing on behalf of Oswego County.”

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