Apr 03, 2009 Ami Olson Uncategorized
Representatives from several fire departments, the Camillus Police Department and WAVES joined members of the Camillus Town Board and a handful of residents Thursday March 26 for a public safety meeting, organized by Councilman William Davern.
Davern said the meeting served as a forum for suggestions and concerns and as a jumping-off point for restarting the plans for a joint training center, and one of the most prominent issues across the public safety spectrum was the county-wide radio system.
The system, which would establish a uniform radio system for emergency and public safety organizations across the county, has been a point of contention and confusion for local departments.
The county had agreed to pay to replace the radios currently being used by fire, ambulance, police and other safety organizations in order to implement the system. But rumors that the departments would be responsible for purchasing their own radios had become a cause for alarm for many local departments.
Town Supervisor Mary Ann Coogan told the group that at a supervisor’s meeting earlier this month, County Executive Joanne Mahoney had reassured officials that individual departments would not be responsible for purchasing their own equipment to utilize the county mandated system.
The county hopes to reinstate a landline telephone surcharge to cover the costs of the radios.
“The bottom line is, you need those radios,” Coogan said.
Camillus Police Capt. Steve Rotunno emphasized the importance of the Emergency Operations Center. In the case of an emergency affecting part of or the whole town or surrounding areas, the Camillus Municipal Building could serve as ground zero of emergency operations, Rotunno said. Plans and funding for the ECO are being explored.
Assistant Chief of the Camillus Fire Department Scott Binns suggested all five fire departments and public safety organizations participate in a town-wide drill.
He presented scenarios – a tanker crashing and spilling gasoline, a small plane crashing – and emphasized the need to have a coordinated plan in place and a real-life run through to keep all safety organizations ready to react in the case of an emergency.
Davern said that at the last public safety meeting, the plans for a multi-functional training center were developed, but the momentum in planning has since slowed and needs to be renewed.
He asked the group to consider setting a meeting to move on to the next step towards constructing and ultimately utilizing the facility.
“It’s not only critical for training, but for safety of the people responding,” said Councilor James Salanger.
The meeting came to a close at about 8:30 p.m. The next public safety meeting has not been set.