On May 19th the New York South Orangetown Ambulance Corps (SOAC) banded together with more than 80 firefighters from eight departments, in a large-scale exercise held at Orangeburg’s St. Thomas Aquinas College.
It was the first time that the SOAC had the opportunity to use the recently donated 112 square-foot, power generated Reeves Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter (DRASH) from DHS Technologies, headquartered just down the road from the college.
The shelter was used for fire rehab during the exercise.
According to Stephen Harris, from SOAC, it will continue to be used as a rehab area when the department responds to emergencies for the multiple fire departments in the area.
“More firemen die of complications, heart attacks, things like that after fire incidents,” says Harris.
Fire rehab makes sure that when firemen come away from a scene, they get proper treatment. The Ambulance Corps responds to scenes at the same time as fire departments so they can set up the proper EMS equipment.
“We hydrate them, we make sure their vitals are okay, we help cool them down and we monitor those firemen who shouldn’t go back to the scene.”
Harris explains that previously firemen would do rehab on the ground, without privacy or proper cooling or heating system. The DRASH system provides both.
The May 19 drill involved the Sparkill-Palisades Fire Department and seven other volunteer departments: Tappan, Orangetown, Blauvelt, Piermont, Nyack, Pearl River and Rockleigh, NJ. The eight departments worked together to rescue several “victims” trapped in two story dormitory buildings.
The SOAC is on call for the community 24/7 and responds to approximately 1,800 calls per year.
According to SOAC Chief Barbara Gupta, the shelter will be used for rehab during both small and large-scale events.