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New training may be in order to handle the wrath of Mother Nature

By JOLEEN FERRIS

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - No one was ready for the rain the Mohawk Valley saw over the past week.

“It was an extreme strain on our resources number one, because we're trained to do firefighting. We're not trained for floodwater mitigation or how to deal with floods and number one, we didn't know how to deal with it,” says Herkimer Deputy Fire Chief Alan Richard.

Herkimer’s seventeen firefighters answered more than 300 calls for help from flooded homeowners during the worst of last week’s floods.

They didn’t see their own families as they worked 24-hours shifts, fighting to save other families and their homes from raging flood waters. Mother nature’s parting shot - an abundance of overtime in communities that are already financially strapped.

“I worked one 24 hour regular shift and 58 hours overtime in a six day period Friday through Wednesday and most of the guys were here the full time,” said Deputy Chief Richard.

Waters have receded to reveal some valuable lessons for the future. Dedication and selfless service are a good start, but some local firefighters say they might be headed back to the classroom to prepare for mother nature’s next outburst

“There are classes and incident command that are given out through homeland security and FEMA and I think we're going to make a very conscious effort to make sure not only the fire department gets those classes but the public officials need to have those classes,” Deputy Chief Richard said.

While everyone impacted by flooding is hanging a lot of hope on reimbursement from the federal government, local elected officials warn that it’s not a blank check, and there is a lot that FEMA does npt cover.

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