CATTARAUGUS COUNTY — Local Department of Environmental Conservation Rangers, along with other agencies spent this past weekend in a two-day training exercise sponsored by the regional tech rescue team.
The first day consisted of two rope rescue scenarios in the Zoar Gorge, which forced members of different departments to jointly utilize equipment and experience.
On the second day of the training, Rangers reviewed the use of various tools and methods to complete swiftwater rescues. Departments from both Erie and Cattaraugus Counties participated, as well as Erie County Sheriff’s SWAT.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations, and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured, or distressed people from across New York State.
In 2019, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 337 search and rescue missions, extinguished 74 wildfires that burned 212 acres, participated in 29 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 645 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 2,507 tickets or arrests.
“DEC celebrates our 50th anniversary this year, but our Forest Rangers have been on the front lines for even longer, protecting New York’s wildlife, natural resources, residents, and visitors for more than a century,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “The State’s brave Forest Rangers have a vast knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques that are critical to the success of their missions in remote wilderness areas, rugged mountainous peaks, white water rivers, frozen lakes, and forested areas statewide. We are proud of the work our Forest Rangers perform and look forward to another 50 years and beyond of highly trained service.”