More than 100 firefighters and emergency volunteers from departments and ambulance teams across the North Fork drilled with Suffolk County Police Aviation members at a Riverhead fire station in Calverton Thursday night.
Members of the Riverhead, Jamesport, Flanders, Manorville, Ridge and Wading River fire departments, Riverhead and Flanders ambulance units and Riverhead Fire Marshals crowded into the station for a presentation by two aviation police and a paramedic.
The drill started at 7 p.m., when the three landed their Eurocopter AS350 single-engine helicopter behind the firehouse at the intersection of Riley and Twomey Avenues.
Suffolk County Police Aviation uses the $2.8 million helicopter, as well as two other single-engine and a roughly $9 million twin-engine helicopter for rescues, police pursuits, photography and search and rescues.
Officers Joe Sedotto and John Venturo and paramedic Shawn Edouard answered questions from the audience about tips for working with aviation authorities, during a forum held inside the station.
Mr. Sedotto advised the firefighters to communicate through their commanding officers to aviation’s commanding officers during operations, and said it’s important to keep civilians away from helicopter landing zones.
Exempts from the Riverhead Fire Department cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner, and provided donuts and coffee to warm up volunteers on the frigid night.
After the Q&A, firefighters and ambulance volunteers toured the helicopter, taking photos of it up close before aviation officers climbed back in and took off.