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For Release: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

DEC Forest Rangers - Week in Review

Recent Statewide Forest Ranger Actions

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations, and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured, or distressed people from across New York State.

In 2021, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 426 search and rescue missions, extinguished wildfires, participated in prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate acres of land, and worked on cases that resulted in thousands of tickets or arrests. Some of these incidents featured each week result in injuries, property damage, or even death, and starting this year, the "DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights" is transitioning to a new title, "Forest Rangers - Week In Review."

"Over the last decade, as well as during the COVID-19 pandemic, DEC saw an uptick in people visiting State lands to experience New York's abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "DEC's Forest Rangers are on the front lines to help visitors get outside responsibly and get home safely, as well as to protect our state's irreplaceable natural resources. Rangers' knowledge of first aid, land navigation, and technical rescue techniques are critical to the success of their missions, which for more than a century have taken them from remote wilderness areas with rugged mountain peaks, to white water rivers, and throughout our vast forests statewide."

Town of Hunter
Greene County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Jan. 10 at 2:30 p.m., Central Dispatch received a call for help for a 67-year-old man who slipped on the ice at Kaaterskill Falls. Forest Rangers Allwine and Dawson responded and found the hiker from Massachusetts with a knee injury unable to walk. Rangers provided medical care and packaged the subject in a Sked to carry him up the ice-covered trail to a Ranger truck before driving the injured subject up to the Laurel House trailhead. The hiker declined further medical care. Resources were clear at 4:36 p.m.

Village of Hammondsport
Steuben County
Wilderness First Responder Training:
On Jan. 13 and 14, 19 Forest Rangers from DEC Regions 7, 8, and 9 took part in the annual wilderness first responder training at the Hammondsport Volunteer Fire Department. Forest Rangers are the only law enforcement members in New York State required to be certified as Wilderness First Responders. The two-day training highlighted a "sticks lab" where Rangers demonstrate how to measure and administer epinephrine to a patient. The training is led by Forest Rangers who are members of Wilderness Medical Associates International and are certified instructors who travel across the country to train so they can bring new knowledge back to New York.

Rangers at a table practicing by sticking oranges with needles
Rangers take part in wilderness first aid training

Rangers sit at a table learning first aid practices
Rangers take part in wilderness first aid training

Ninham Mountain Multiple Use Area
Putnam County
Flat Ice Rescue Training:
On Jan. 14, Forest Rangers from Region 3, Zone B in Orange, Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester counties conducted a joint flat ice rescue training with the Westchester County Sheriff Department Aviation Unit. The Rangers practiced techniques including coached self-rescue, throw rope and reach pole usage, as well as donning exposure suits to enter the freezing water. Training with the Westchester County Aviation Unit provided Rangers with the opportunity to practice the rapid evacuation of a simulated hypothermic patient from a frozen and remote body of water. Rangers practiced transferring a training dummy to the running Bell 407 helicopter as the crew expertly rested the aircraft on the frozen surface. The Westchester County crew also honed their skills in approaching the frozen pond, retrieving the subject, and executing a patient transfer to emergency medical services. This joint training exercise fostered the productive relationship between the two agencies and provided additional rescue resources throughout the Lower Hudson Valley.

Two Rangers pulling a large object across the ice towards a helicopter
Rangers take part in flat ice rescue training

Town of Bolton
Warren County
Wilderness Recovery:
On Jan. 16 at 12:15 p.m., Forest Rangers were called to assist with a 58-year-old hiker who collapsed at the Five Mile Mountain lean-to. His hiking partner and other hikers, including a member of Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue, began CPR on the subject. Ranger Kabrehl hiked in with members of the Bolton Police Department. Helicopter transport was also dispatched to the incident and at 2:10 p.m., the subject was loaded into the helicopter and later pronounced deceased by EMS. Ranger Kabrehl hiked out with the rest of the hiking party.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hike Smart NY, Adirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.

If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it's for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.

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