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St. Lawrence County volunteers prepare trip to New York City to aid Sandy relief

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POTSDAM - Emergency workers across St. Lawrence County are ready and waiting for the call that will send them to New York City to aid in relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“We have been tasked to identify whether we have any crews available,” said St. Lawrence County Emergency Services Director Joseph M. Gilbert.

So far 35 crews from St. Lawrence County, each of which is made up of two to five men, along with trucks and equipment, have volunteered.

“We’ve got six guys right here right now. We’re just waiting for the call,” said Dallas K. Denny on Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Denny is the first assistant chief of the Rensselaer Falls Volunteer Fire Department.

The call could come at any time, and crews are ready to get on the road to New York City within 24 hours. Mr. Denny said he expected it to come Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Hurricane Sandy tore through New Jersey and New York City Monday night, causing widespread flooding and power outages and closing the city’s subway system. So far, the storm has killed a confirmed 17 New Yorkers.

Volunteers are gathering from across the country to provide relief to first-responders.

“We might be a second string, coming in tomorrow or even the next day,” Mr. Gilbert said on Thursday.

Rescue workers will spend 72 hours in New York City, pumping water from flooded areas and providing other assistance, working in rotation with first-responders and other rescue crews.

Most local responders have full-time jobs in St. Lawrence County and are putting these on hold to volunteer their time to the relief effort.

“Our great volunteers in St. Lawrence County have really stepped up to the plate,” Mr. Gilbert said.

Mr. Denny said he and his crew were happy to take off from work to help out those in need.

“We’d expect our neighbors to help us if we help them, and we know that they would,” he said.

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