June 24, 2015
Albany

Governor Cuomo Welcomes Bomb Squads and Tactical Teams to 'Raven's Challenge' Emergency Response Training

TOP Governor Cuomo Welcomes Bomb Squads and...

Local, State, Federal, and International Teams Train at State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany, Boosting Local Economy and Preparing Responders for Emergencies

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Governor Cuomo announced that bomb squads, explosive detection canine teams, and tactical teams representing groups from New York and several states, federal entities, and Canada are participating in the Raven’s Challenge emergency response training at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany this week. The Challenge is an exercise designed to enhance cooperation between public safety bomb squads and military explosive ordnance disposal technicians.

“The Raven’s Challenge ensures that first responders are equipped with the training and skills necessary to respond safely to some of the most challenging emergency situations,” Governor Cuomo said. “I am proud that New York is hosting this important event, because it will enhance the preparedness of our emergency personnel and make this state safer for all New Yorkers.”

“New York State is fully committed to training our first responders to contend with any emergency we may face,” said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. “As New Yorkers, we can leave nothing to chance. The Raven’s Challenge offers that assurance by providing our state and local officials the tools they need through real-life exercises and preparation. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his commitment to keep us all safe and secure.”

The event is hosted by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, coordinated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. The Raven's Challenge began in 2004 in the Pacific Northwest, and has since grown to reach more than 1,000 participants nationwide each year. The State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany is one of only four sites nationwide (other host sites include locations in Florida, Colorado, and Washington) to host Raven’s Challenge activities, which help to funnel tens of thousands of dollars to the local economy.

The State Preparedness Training Center, a 1,100-acre state-of-the-art facility, was chosen as a Raven’s Challenge host for its diverse training environments that give state, local, and federal agencies various venues that can be used for the entire spectrum of training. From classroom lectures and discussions to reality- and high-performance scenario-based training, the State Preparedness Training Center offers opportunities for dynamic emergency first responder training. A unique feature of the State Preparedness Training Center is its CityScape complex, a scenario-based training center that encompasses life-size and realistic locations, including a high school, motel, shopping mall, courthouse, and café, along with apartments, store fronts, and offices.

DHSES Commissioner John P. Melville said, “New York State is proud to host the Raven’s Challenge, an invaluable training event that helps international, federal, state, and local partners communicate and coordinate – skills that are critical in the event of an emergency that involves an explosive device. New York has the highest risk of terrorism in the nation, making the State Preparedness Training Center an important venue for emergency and disaster training. I am pleased that Oriskany was chosen for such an important event, and I look forward to continuing our work to prepare first responders with the skills they need to protect all New Yorkers.”

Teams are participating in one of two phases: from June 22 to 24, and June 24 to 26. Each team is able to participate in up to five scenarios at the challenge. Law enforcement and military personnel are combined to form response teams, which participate in improvised explosive device operations in various scenarios throughout the course. To complement the advanced training, experts use explosive detonations, wounded role-players, and sounds to make the scenarios more realistic.

New York State is home to more than a dozen FBI-accredited bomb squads, including a squad operated by the New York State Police. DHSES has provided more than $13 million in homeland security grant funding to local bomb squads to enhance their capabilities, and has hosted annual bomb squad symposiums that bring together local, state, federal, and international bomb technicians to share best practices.

The following agencies from across New York State are scheduled to participate:

Location Participants Team(s) Attending

Statewide

New York State Police

Bomb squad

Broome County

Village of Endicott Police Department

Bomb squad

Chautauqua County

Sheriff’s Office

Bomb squad

Erie County

Sheriff’s Office

Bomb squad & tactical team

Fulton County

Glove-Cities Emergency Response Team

Tactical team

Monroe County

Sheriff’s Office

Bomb squad & tactical team

Monroe County

City of Rochester Police Department

Bomb squad & tactical team

Nassau County

Police Department

Bomb squad & tactical team

New York City

Police Department

Bomb squad

New York City,
Long Island, Southeastern New York State

Metropolitan Transportation Agency Police Department

K-9

Onondaga County

Sheriff’s Office

Bomb squad

Onondaga County

City of Syracuse Police Department

Bomb squad

Rensselaer County

City of Troy Police Department

Tactical team & K-9

Schenectady County

City of Schenectady Police Department

K-9

Suffolk County

Police Department

Bomb squad & K-9

Westchester County

Police Department

Bomb squad


The following non-New York State (outside of New York) and international participants are scheduled to participate:

Location Participants Team(s) Attending

Michigan

Detroit Police Department

Bomb squad

New Jersey

State Police

Bomb squad

New Jersey

Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office

Bomb squad

Pennsylvania

State Police

Bomb squad

Pennsylvania

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office

Bomb squad

South Carolina

Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

Bomb squad

Vermont

State Police

Bomb squad

Brampton, Ontario Canada

Peel Regional Police

Bomb squad


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, (ATF) the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Defense (DoD), and explosives teams from the U.S. Air Force, Air Force National Guard, Army, Army National Guard, and Marines are also set to participate.

Donald Robinson, Special Agent in Charge of National Center for Explosives Training & Research (NCETR), said, "ATF, and its NCETR, is proud to once again coordinate with our military and civilian partners in the delivery of the Raven’s Challenge-Joint Program Office Interoperability Exercise this year. We are especially pleased to come to New York and the State Preparedness Training Center here in Oriskany, a state-of-the-art preparedness training center. Each year, Raven’s Challenge reaches over 1,000 public safety bomb squad technicians and military explosive ordnance disposal operators to train and work together on explosives and IED related training scenarios. This interoperability between public safety and military personnel is crucial to the security of this country in the event of an incident or series of incidents that overwhelms the resources of a city or region. ATF and the NCETR are proud to continue these efforts, and we especially want to thank the Department of the Army for its support, and each of the PSBS technicians and EOD operators for their participation."

James Yacone, Assistant Director of the FBI's Critical Incident Response Group said, "Because of the constantly evolving IED threats we face, the importance of this type of interagency training cannot be understated. Our Nation’s security depends on it. Critical to the mission of responding to an incident involving an IED, is the universal training received by all public safety bomb technicians nationwide, at the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School in Huntsville, Alabama. This facility is the sole provider of render safe certification training for civilian bomb technicians and accreditation of all public safety bomb squads.”

About DHSES
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) and its four offices -- Counter Terrorism, Emergency Management, Fire Prevention and Control, and Interoperable and Emergency Communications -- provide leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.

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New York Press Office: 212.681.4640

Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418