Immediate Release

Friday, October 26, 2007 

For Information Contact

798-5800

Picente, Julian, Brown Announce

Collaboration on HazMat Services
           

            Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., in partnership with the mayors and fire chiefs of Utica and Rome , today announced the creation of a collaborative county response to HazMat incidents that will consolidate services and improve efficiency.

            Picente said that County Government has reached agreement with the City of Utica Fire Department and the City of Rome Fire Department in which the two departments agree to provide the response to all Haz Mat incidents that occur anywhere within Oneida County .

             “The cities of Utica and Rome have outstanding HazMat units that are the result of a long and sustained investment by those communities in developing theses services,” Picente said. “I believe that it is in the best interests of this county to tap into that expertise rather than develop the same services at the county level that are being provided by these two cities.”

            As part of the collaboration, Picente said that Oneida County will no longer designate an individual to be the Deputy Fire/Haz Mat Coordinator. The County will contract with the two fire departments to provide planning and coordination to assist the County's Fire Coordinator. Both cities’ Haz Mat teams and command level people will work together to coordinate joint training of personnel, the geographical response structure, the primary and back-up response. They will also work together to identify equipment needs and determine the best method and source of procurement to achieve two identical teams. Both agencies will designate an officer who will be their agency single point of contact.

            Picente said that Oneida County will sign a five-year contract with each city. Each city will be paid $35,000 a year for providing HazMat services. This money will come from the County's award from NYS Office of Homeland Security Program (SHSP). The funding of this grant is from the FEMA National Preparedness Directorate.

            Rome Mayor Jim Brown said, “I am pleased that County Government has recognized the outstanding qualifications of the Rome Fire Department to provide HazMat services. I am very proud of our Fire Department personnel. Innovation in partnerships is a stepping-stone for our region’s progress, and I am glad to be taking this step to provide HazMat protection for the people of our area.”

            Utica Mayor Tim Julian said, “As a strong believer in consolidation and collaboration, I am very glad to work with County Government and the City of Rome to provide HazMat services. Utica ’s Fire Department has a reputation for excellence in HazMat responses, and I believe that this agreement not only moves us forward in terms of collaboration, it provides excellent services to the people of our entire county.”

            Picente said the collaboration builds upon outstanding expertise and previous investments in specialized equipment. He said that the Rome Fire Department will continue to work with a core group of specially trained volunteers from several of Oneida County ’s volunteer fire departments.  Picente said that the Rome Fire Department will continue to use special HazMat equipment that has been provided to the County from state and federal funding sources. The Utica Fire Department will continue to use the special equipment that has also been provided to the City of Utica from state and federal sources.