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About the Parish Fire District


The Town of Parish contracts with the Fire Company to provide Fire and Rescue (non-transport) services to both the Town and Village of Parish, home to nearly 4000 residents. The geographic area of 43 square miles is considered rural, but includes the developed Village community of Parish, regional school facility, an interstate highway, along with a a vast rural residential community, and semi-remote wilderness area.

Extreme Weather- a Major Hazard

Extreme weather conditions occur frequently in the Parish area. Located just east of Lake Ontario and in the middle of the “Snow Belt”, snowfalls of several feet accompanied by high winds are common occurrences from October through March. It is not unusual to have most of the company and its equipment committed to these incidents for 8 to 12 hours at a time and longer.


In February of 2007, Parish received fourteen feet of snow in a seven day period and more recently recorded five feet of snow in a single afternoon, with snowfall rates of 8 inches per hour. Such weather conditions make any travel extremely treacherous, and often impossible. Fire fighting, vehicle accidents, and EMS/rescue incidents are daunting, and the requirement for the fire house and the company to be self-sufficient become an operational necessity. When inclement or extreme weather isolates the Parish area, the firehouse is the only public facility capable of handling both the large number of vehicles, and their passengers, for temporary or overnight shelter.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Village of Parish

The village is home to several local public and private businesses, a small community health center, and the village’s sewage treatment plant.

Happy Valley Wilflife Management Area

The 10,000 acre New York State Happy Valley Wildlife Management Area, a semi-remote and isolated area, presents additional challenges for us with incidents involving Wildland fires, snowmobile/ATV accidents, recreational medical emergencies, and Search and Rescue operations.

Highways

Running through our operational area is almost 6 miles of Interstate Route 81. Interstate 81 runs south from the Canadian border Thousand Island Bridge, land Port of Entry into the United States. This segment of the interstate also includes two interchanges that provide access to and from State Routes 69 and 104, the primary accesses to three nuclear power plants located 11 miles west of our territory. These interchanges, along with the Interstate itself, are key components of the trucking routes servicing the three near-by nuclear power plants, the US Army’s Fort Drum, and the Wheeler-SAC airfield.
Located at each of the two interchanges are large service and fuel centers with parking for scores of trucks. With new restrictions on the hours that truck drivers may operate, on any given night these service areas are usually full of trucks carrying a multitude of cargos, including hazardous materials.
According to the NYS DOT, the average daily traffic volume for this segment of Route 81 is 20,589 vehicles.

Railroads

Our service area is also traversed by 2.5 miles of Conrail railroad which, similar to Interstate Route 81, also provides service to the nuclear power plants, the industrial facilities adjacent to these power plants, and the US Army’s Fort Drum. Conrail has recently informed the residents of Parish that both rail usage and the speed of the trains utilizing these tracks will be increasing. This increases the probability that we will be the primary department called to handle accidents and derailments which could likely involve large quantities of hazardous materials. At the same time, rail traffic often shuts down major roadways, isolating segments of our territory, and also delaying mutual aid companies from reaching us.

Government Owned Facilities

Also included in our service area are the town highway garage, a county highway garage, and a NYS DOT highway garage. All three include large service and re-fueling facilities along with both dry and wet chemical storage. The County garage also serves a key role in the County’s radiological and evacuation plan, serving as a personnel and equipment evacuation and decontamination site. Parish is on the down-wind edge of the 10 mile nuclear evacuation zone ring and the department is expected to be able to provide support during a large-scale evacuation.

Schools

Within the Town of Parish are three separate school buildings: Elementary, Middle, and High School containing over 100 employees and 1,500 students along with a school bus servicing and fueling garage. Bus transportation is required for over 95% of the students.

The Parish Fire Station

The firehouse, built in 1963, along with its attached kitchen facility and training and public room, is a designated Red Cross Shelter, training room for Fire, EMS, and Search and Rescue; and the center for many other community activities.

Helispot Facility

The fire station property includes a dedicated helispot, capable of handling two aircraft at the same time. Located near the border of Jefferson and Oswego Counties, both of which are US Homeland Security Border counties, the helispot is included in both county’s EMS med-evac plans and it is utilized at least once each month.


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