Photos: Riverhead firefighters host SCPD helicopter drill

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Firefighters take a tour of a Suffolk County police helicopter after a Riverhead Fire Department drill Thursday night.

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.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | (R-L) Suffolk County Aviation officers John Venturo and Joe Sedotto, and paramedic Shawn Edouard speak at Thursday night’s drill.

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.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A firefighter watches as the single-engine $2.8 million police helicopter lands in Calverton Thursday night.

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.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Town Councilman and Riverhead Fire Department exempt John Dunleavy cooks up hot dogs and hamburgers with his fellow volunteers Thursday night.
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Volunteer firefighters and emergency technicians were invited to ask questions to the aviation officials.
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Volunteers got to peek inside the helicopter as officer Joe Sedotto circled the helicopter, explaining its equipment.