State Agency Subject Matter Experts from Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation to Provide Annual Boots on the Ground to Support Puerto Rico Ahead of Hurricane Season
DHSES to Offer Intensive Preparedness Courses for Puerto Rican Emergency Management Officials at New York State Preparedness Training Center
Announcement Builds on Governor Hochul's Support for Puerto Rico Following Devastating Effects of Hurricane Fiona
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced New York State is taking additional measures to assist the island of Puerto Rico with further enhancing hurricane preparedness efforts ahead of next year's hurricane season. During the aftermath of Fiona, many areas on the island lost power and the ability to access safe drinking water. This new commitment by Governor Hochul will ensure emergency generators for the island's water infrastructure and local emergency response are maintained ahead of hurricane season, strengthening preparedness and reducing the chances that access to safe drinking water is effected during future storms. For the first time next spring, the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany will provide advanced, intensive training and assessment programs for Puerto Rican emergency management officials at all levels of government to further bolster their preparedness and reinforce the progress they have made in recent years in emergency response.
"New York and Puerto Rico share a special bond, and our state will always be ready to support our brothers and sisters in any way we can," Governor Hochul said. "My administration is proud to stand with Puerto Rico, and this training will better protect people, property and critical infrastructure from future extreme weather and help the island build resiliency for years to come."
These measures build on the state's support provided to the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico following the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Hurricane Fiona in 2022. In the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona this September and at the request of Governor Pedro Pierluisi, Governor Hochul deployed senior members of her administration, New York State Troopers and a multi-agency Emergency Operations Center support team to Puerto Rico to assist with relief efforts.
Beginning in early 2023, State Agency personnel from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Department of Environmental Conservation, and Department of Transportation experienced in engineering and technical assistance will travel to Puerto Rico to provide annual maintenance on emergency generators that support island's water and emergency response infrastructure.
Prior to next year's Atlantic hurricane season, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will host Puerto Rican emergency management officials at all levels of Government at the State Preparedness Training Center for an advanced preparedness exchange each spring. The curriculum will be developed by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, in collaboration with Puerto Rican counterparts, and may include training exercises such as swift water and flood rescue, urban search and rescue, UAS technical operation and assessment, as well as emergency management and disaster response, based on the profile and skill needs of trainees from Puerto Rico.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, "Governor Hochul is committed to supporting Puerto Rico in its efforts to recover after major tropical storms. And now, New York State will partner with our counterparts in Puerto Rico to make sure they have the resources and training they need to be better prepared before next Hurricane Season and every Hurricane Season to come."
The training would also offer a collaborative workshop for emergency management leaders in New York and Puerto Rico to share best practices for emergency operations center roles and organization between the two teams.
Since Hurricane Maria, New York has helped Puerto Rico secure billions of dollars in federal funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recover and rebuild the island's energy infrastructure, in addition to the New York Power Authority performing technical assessments of powerplants and substations on the island. In the wake of Hurricane Fiona, the worst storm to hit the island since Hurricane Maria, Governor Hochul announced New York State actions to assist Puerto Rico in relief efforts. These efforts have further strengthened New York's long-standing commitment to help Puerto Rico in its reconstruction and recovery.
About the State Preparedness Training Center
New York State is home to one of the premier emergency response training facilities in the nation - the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. Located on 1,100 acres, the State Preparedness Training Center offers an extensive series of realistic training venues, a Swift Water and Flood Training venue, a 45,000 square foot CityScape complex, and an Urban Search and Rescue simulator. From classroom lectures and discussions, to skill development lanes, to reality and high-performance scenario-based training, the State Preparedness Training Center offers state, local, and federal agencies a wide range of opportunities for dynamic emergency first responder training.
About the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services provides leadership, coordination, and support to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate disasters and other emergencies. For more information, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Instagram, or visit our website.