On April 19, 2012, Joe Robach and the New York State Senate passed legislation that allows for the creation of a training program for volunteers interested in assisting the search and rescue operations of state forest rangers.  If enacted, Senate bill 553, will enhance the safety of volunteers and the public during search and rescue operations in densely forested communities across the state.

Joe Robach knows that in times of crisis, it is always heartening to see caring people step forward to help and that is one reason he voted in favor of this important bill.  When someone is missing, volunteer assistance can be extraordinarily helpful in expansive and remote forests. This legislation would establish a program with our forest rangers to ensure that these types of search and rescue operations are done safely and effectively with prepared and knowledgeable volunteers.

Each year, the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s forest rangers conduct over 200 search and rescue operations in remote and forested areas of the state. The assistance of trained and credentialed individuals and groups who volunteer to assist in searches would be highly valuable in providing additional resources to respond to emergency situations where lost or missing persons are in need of immediate assistance.

Specifically, S.553 enables the forest rangers to establish, direct and maintain a program for the purposes of training and credentialing volunteer wild land search and rescue personnel to assist and respond with forest ranger forces to search for lost and missing people in remote and forested areas of the state.  It is important to note that the New York State Federation of Search and Rescue Teams requested the legislation.

The bill, which Joe Robach voted for, was passed in the Senate on April 19.   The legislation was then sent to the Assembly for consideration.  For more information about this legislation or any other piece of legislation, please contact Joe Robach’s office.