Essex County officials sent several truckloads of generators to New York City earlier this week to help communities still without power after Hurricane Sandy.
Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas said his town and the Essex County Department of Public Works loaned about 27 generators to an emergency operations center. The generators were unloaded from the trucks late Wednesday night with help from the National Guard. Douglas said emergency personnel in New York City planned to distribute them to areas in need.
Employees from Jay and Essex County traveled to New York City with the generators. A worker from the town of Wilmington also made the trip. Douglas said everyone returned safely at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday.
Essex County officials load generators onto a truck Wednesday to send to New York City communities hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.
"A lot of them were for public infrastructure needs, I believe," Douglas said, "for water and sewer plants, maybe nursing homes and those sort of things - but it was mostly for public places."
The storm spared the Adirondacks and northern New York, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state emergency officials made sure communities that were hit hard by last year's Tropical Storm Irene, like Jay and Keene, were prepared nonetheless. Douglas said state Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine was sent to Essex County before the storm to serve as an emergency liaison, and Cuomo himself visited AuSable Forks the day before the storm hit.
On Tuesday, when it was clear that the storm had missed the North Country, Aubertine stopped by Douglas' office in AuSable Forks to tell him he was being utilized elsewhere. Before they parted ways, Douglas said he offered Aubertine help in the form of manpower and supplies.
"I told him we could probably come up with a bunch (of generators) if needed," Douglas said. "That night I received a call from his deputy commissioner who said they definitely wanted them. We were able to pull it all together."
Douglas said the rest of the state was incredibly supportive of his community after Irene, and he was glad to be able to return the favor.
"My guys would go back in a minute, and they're might be a possibility that we are going to go back," he said. "It's a good feeling to be able to repay it just 14 months later. ... Our thoughts and prayers go out to them as they recover because we certainly know how it feels."
Essex County Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish told the Enterprise that Essex County fire departments are prepared to send Storm Emergency Fire Units downstate if their presence is requested.
A team of firefighters from Franklin County, including members of the Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake volunteer fire departments, was dispatched to New York City on Tuesday to help with cleanup efforts.