Watertown— Back in September 27, 2012, ABC50 had the opportunity to interview New York State Police Division Diving Team. Just last month, the NYS Police diving team was in Jefferson County utilizing the Saint Lawrence River and Black River for diving training.
Technical Sergeant and Division Diving Officer Tom Barden told ABC50 that they were involved in rescue efforts during hurricane Irene, rescuing victims from their flooded homes.
When hurricane/super storm Sandy surfaced- the NYS Police diving team was made aware days in advance that they would be needed. Sgt. Barden told ABC50, “The trainings we go through is just for this reason, because we never know when something like this will happen- when the storm came, we were ready to go.”
Sgt. Barden and his men were expecting more super storm Sandy chaos to hit Upstate, New York and was relieved when the storm didn’t hit the Upstate area. The diving team is in Long Island assisting in rescue efforts, “We actually came down to Long Island in the early morning this past Tuesday. The storm hit Long Island Monday. We were put on standby because high tide was the main concern.”
Luckily, there were no extreme rescue missions the team has had to conduct so far. However, they have been able to provide support to numerous victims in desperate need of supplies. “We brought to the attention of Nassau County and NY State police letting them know that people need attention and need supplies. The basic things they need- food, water, gas, and generators because they don’t have power.”
The biggest problem, Sgt. Barden told ABC50, is that there is massive loss of power, gas stations are shut down so there is limited gas and basic necessities. FEMA- Federal Emergency Management Agency is supplying some generators for the agencies that are running command post that are assisting Sandy victims. Sgt. Barden said that his team is ready to help any and all in need stating, “It may take weeks before anyone has power and even longer before normalcy is restored to the area.”