When hikers encounter trouble, first responders answer the call
The PBA of New York State announced members from the New York State Park Police partnered with the Niagara Falls Fire Department on the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 8, to rescue an injured hiker from the Vanderbilt Stairs area of Whirlpool State Park.
New York State Park Police Officers and firefighters from Engine 3 of the Niagara Falls Fire Department were first on the scene and descended into the gorge to locate an injured hiker a distance from the Vanderbilt Stairs. Engine 3 personnel performed a medical evaluation and determined the hiker had suffered injuries to both ankles that rendered her unable to walk, much less ascend the Vanderbilt Stairs to exit the gorge.
Niagara Falls Fire Department Truck 1 soon joined Park Police and Engine 3 on the scene to bring rescue equipment into the gorge so the patient could be safely packaged and carried to the stairs and out of the gorge. Working together, Park Police Officers and firefighters from Engine 3, Engine 4 and Truck 1 carried the patient over rough terrain through the gorge and up the Vanderbilt Stairs where the patient was then transported to a local hospital for treatment of nonlife-threatening injuries. The rescue was accomplished in a little under two hours.
“Nobody sets out on a hike expecting it to end in a rescue but, should that day come, the women and men of the New York State Park Police stand ready to answer the call,” said PBANYS board member and Park Police Superior Officers Director Lt. James Hy. “Park Police officers have advanced training in search and rescue operations, including high angle rescue and extraction from remote and inhospitable terrain, capabilities that are not in the skillset of your average law enforcement officer.”
Hy added, “The PBA of New York State thanks the members of the Niagara Falls Fire Department who again demonstrated their skill and professionalism during this rescue operation. Western New York has many beautiful and challenging parks and trails that draw hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who frequently find themselves in need of assistance. The Park Police are grateful that outstanding local agencies like the Niagara Falls Fire Department are at the ready to assist our officers and the public during such incidents.”
A press release stated, “The PBA of New York State urges hikers to know their capabilities, bring needed equipment and adequate water, inform a third-party as to where you will be and check in regularly to let them know you are safe or if you need assistance. Enjoy the wonder of New York state but do so safely and responsibly.”
Established in 2011, the Police Benevolent Association of New York State is a law enforcement labor union representing the interests of approximately 1,200 members of the New York State Agency Police Services Unit (APSU). The PBA of New York State is the exclusive bargaining agent for the New York State University (SUNY) Police, the New York State Environmental Conservation Police, the New York State Park Police, and the New York State Forest Rangers. Its members police and protect New York’s public universities and colleges; state parks and historic sites; they enforce state laws and protect lands and forests; and ensure environmental safety and quality throughout the state.