We are truly blessed here in Rockland County. The efforts of our all-volunteer Fire Departments, EMS agencies, Police Departments and our Radio Operators and Emergency Dispatchers were nothing short of heroic during last week’s storm. Day after day these people leave their families and homes to go out in our community and protect you, your family and your homes.
For the first time ever the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Emergency for our region. And the response was herculean, our Fire Departments handled nearly 300 calls during the 24-hour period around the storm. They responded to pump outs, flooding conditions, roadway hazards, and trees and wires down all across Rockland.
But most notably our local first responders, with assistance from New York State water rescue teams, rescued 80 people from flooded and submerged vehicles. That’s 80 people saved from extremely dangerous conditions, truly lifesaving work.
The Piermont Fire Department Dive Team alone responded to Sparkill, Orangeburg, Nyack, New City, Tappan and West Nyack for vehicles in the water with victims trapped, and to Spring Valley where they searched 22 cars that were submerged to ensure no occupants were trapped inside.
This heroic work could not have taken place with the work of the first, first responders, the Radio Operators who answer your 9-1-1 calls at they come in.
The Rockland County Sheriff’s Office Communications Division processed 2,695 incoming calls for service during the day of the storm: 1,477 from E9-1-1 callers, and 1,218 on conventional phone lines. (On a typical September day, Operators would usually process about 356 E9-1-1 calls and 265 conventional calls.)
The majority of which involved flooding, both residents reporting flooding in or near their homes, and victims trapped in their cars due to flash flooding on our roadways. Other calls included electrical lines fallen and/or burning and a landing zone for a medical helicopter.
Also needing mention are our Office of Fire and Emergency Services and Highway Department who had a presence at the Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center and worked to coordinate the response with Towns and Villages.
The stories I have heard from the responses the night Ida hit are truly incredible. It’s clear to me that without the actions of all of our first responders that Rockland residents would have died in this storm. We are lucky to have these amazing men and women to call upon whenever we are in need, and I will forever be proud to lead them as both a former first responder and as your County Executive.