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Long Island

First responders to train for disasters at Heckscher State Park

First responders from several Long Island fire, law enforcement, and emergency rescue units are scheduled to conduct a training exercise in Heckscher State Park on Saturday and a portion of Sunday to prepare for the next disaster.

“We’ve got personnel from all different disciplines — law enforcement, fire and emergency services who don’t always get to work together on a regular basis,” said Brett Martinez, a Suffolk fire marshal and manager of the Urban Search and Rescue Team Exercise taking place in parking fields 5, 8 and the pool area of the East Islip-based park. “We bring them together as a task force and they are put into squads and practice their skill sets.”

As many as 30 personnel from various departments on Long Island will take part in mock operations on land and water to simulate the aftermath of a severe weather event and its impact on the population. The group will begin exercises at about 7 a.m. Saturday and leave the park at about noon Sunday.

Martinez said the exercise has been conducted annually in various locations since 2009. He said it could be alarming to people who see large trucks and dozens of men and women in uniforms traveling through streets and in action at the park as if they were responding to a real emergency.

“We’d like to let folks know this is just a drill,” he said.

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