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Genesee County Emergency Management Services

August 10, 2022 - 9:45am

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For the past year and a half, the Municipal Resources Inc. team has been taking a deep dive into Genesee County’s varied fire and emergency response operations in an effort to eliminate what County EMS Coordinator Tim Yaeger calls “the peaks and valleys.”

The report drafted by the consultants from the Plymouth, N.H.-based firm -- which includes around 90 recommendations for consideration – is on the verge of being released to the public, Yaeger said.

Speaking at Monday’s Public Service Committee meeting of the Genesee County Legislature, Yaeger said the local emergency services task force will be meeting at 6 o’clock tonight at the Fire Training Center on State Street Road to sift through the recommendations.

He said the initial goals are to develop “a plan of implementation and for a strategy of working groups, and how we’re going to work on those things – and then following that up with a meeting with the press so it can be read officially and released to the media (because) the public is waiting and wanting to know what that report said.”

Yaeger said the findings of MRI, which is fulfilling a $94,000 contract with the county, set the stage “for the real work to begin; to figure out where we’re going to be going to right the ship with our service.”

Following the task force meeting, the media has been invited to ask questions of the group at 7 p.m.

While it’s uncertain what measures will be implemented, Yaeger told the PSC by that no means is Genesee County government going to take over fire and emergency response in the county.

“I think my biggest hurdle, and our biggest hurdle collectively, is for the fire service (personnel) to understand the county is not taking over the fire service in Genesee County,” he said. “We're here to give them a path to get better -- to stabilize their system and move forward for many years to come.

“But I still hear some rumblings underneath that it's a county takeover and that’s all that it is because the county’s name is in the report and in their (MRI consultants) writing. So, they’re (community volunteers) very protective because they're very proud of what they do.”

Yaeger said the MRI supports community-based organizations.

“We're here to help them survive for the next 50 years (but) change is coming. They have to realize that they can't just continue to do the same things that we've been doing. We've got to act regionally. We've got to work regionally. We just need to formalize those things,” he said.

Mercy Flight EMS of Buffalo, which provides helicopter and ambulance service to the county, is on board with the changes, Yaeger said, relaying key points of a recent conversation he had with Margie Ferrentino, the company’s vice president and chief financial officer.

“I think she’s understanding that we need to stabilize the EMS system in this county,” he said. “We’re getting too many peaks and valleys. So, we had long conversation and I think she gets where we're coming from -- that those peaks and valleys need to go away.”

He said the location of where the ambulances are stationed is crucial to response time, and that MRI has addressed that situation in its report.

In a related development, Yaeger said county EMS has forged an agreement with the City of Batavia to bring about a dozen city firefighters into the county’s Special Operations Team.

“It’s very similar to the ERT team that law enforcement uses,” he noted. “That’s one of the changes that we felt was in the best interest of the public -- the city of Batavia residents and the county residents -- because we've got to be able to guarantee our response.”

Yaeger said he doesn’t fault town and village volunteers for the gaps in fire and emergency response.

“The message with the volunteer service, the dedicated folks out there, is that they’re ready, willing and able but they’ve got life and they’ve got everything else in front of them,” he said. “Some of them are getting pretty frustrated and aged to the point that they’ve been doing this 35 years, 40 years.

“And they’re wondering where the fresh troops are coming from. So, I think we've got to find out where those fresh troops are going to be coming from and find a new way to deliver that service.”

File photo of Timothy Yaeger. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

February 2, 2022 - 3:41pm


Genesee County officials are asking citizens to make their voices heard as the quest for a more efficient emergency and fire response network moves forward.

County Emergency Management Services Coordinator Timothy Yaeger today announced that a series of questionnaires and surveys – including one targeting county residents – are ready to be distributed.

Over the last several months, the county has been working with representatives of Municipal Resources Inc., a Plymouth, N.H.-based consulting firm that specializes in finding solutions for municipalities dealing with emergency services staffing shortage and other issues.

“This is pretty much the public's chance to have a voice and give their views and be a part of this process,” Yaeger said this morning. “This is a very important part because although fire and EMS does a great job providing these services, rarely do we get the input from the public unless they’re receiving those services.”

Yaeger said most people aren’t familiar with the level of service or who’s delivering this service to their community.

“I think it's important for them to understand the severe staffing issues that we're having, so they can be part of the solution,” he said. “And we really want to hear what they have to say. What level of service do they expect from us? Can we meet that need? We need to figure out how we’re going to meet that need.”

While questionnaires and surveys will be emailed to fire responders plus fire, county, town and village officials, the surveys developed for the public are available online (see below) and through traditional and social media, Yaeger said.


Yaeger said MRI consultants have made two site visits thus far, talking to 30-35 local officials and fire personnel as well as to owners of some of the county’s larger business and representatives of the Genesee County Economic Development Center and the Chamber of Commerce.

The questionnaires and surveys will be received by MRI, which will then compile the data and issue a report, likely in late spring. The deadline to fill out the surveys has been set for the end of February.

“Their goal is to get a very broad viewpoint of fire and emergency services in the county and how they're delivered in light of the awareness of these individuals, agencies or citizens,” Yaeger said. “We believe these surveys will go a long way to helping us find a way to meet the expectations and provide these services in the most efficient manner.”

In a press release, Yaeger reported:

About 85 percent of the fire departments in the United States are volunteer. This includes all the departments in Genesee County, except for the City of Batavia. The core issue is the decrease in the number of people able to volunteer at their local fire department.

There are many reasons for this, but the primary reason is the amount of time that people have available. Daily lives are hectic with people working extra to provide for their families, juggling home life and kid’s activities, leaving little time for other pursuits. As a result, our ability to recruit and retain members becomes more difficult every year.


In addition, the community composition has changed and the days when multiple family generations make up the ranks is almost gone. People used to grow up, find work, raise a family and retire in the same community.

This is rare today as many people are leaving for opportunities in other parts of the country. The average age of the community members is also increasing, limiting the number of people available having the physical abilities to perform the stressful duties of a volunteer.

The Genesee County Task Force was established to develop a vision and implementation plan that will help ensure the residents and business owners of the community receive the highest level of emergency services. The goal is to enhance the services we provide by evolving to meet the needs of community with the changing levels of resources (staffing, equipment, funds, etc.) that are available to us.


Yaeger said you can help by reaching out to your local volunteer fire department and ask for an application or by completing the public survey by clicking on the following:


Paper copies of the survey will be available at the following locations: Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY; Woodward Memorial Library, Le Roy, NY; Haxton Memorial Library, Oakfield, NY; Corfu Public Library, Corfu, NY; Hollwedel Memorial Library, Pavilion, NY; Byron-Bergen Public Library, Bergen, NY and the Office of the Aging, Batavia, NY.

Previously: Consultants are meeting with as many people as possible in effort to fortify county's emergency response model

January 12, 2022 - 8:05pm


Severe staffing shortages among emergency response units have Genesee County officials searching for the most effective ways to transport residents experiencing mental health episodes to qualified hospitals where they can receive the evaluation and treatment they need.

Tim Yaeger, Emergency Management Services coordinator, and Lynda Battaglia, director of Mental Health & Community Services, led an hour-long discussion via Zoom with county legislators and law enforcement personnel this afternoon about a severely compromised level of ambulance service in the county.

“Why this topic is even being discussed is because there's an EMS (Emergency Management Services) crisis in New York State,” Yaeger said. “We’re looking at counties that are really in a very much of a reactionary form to figure out what they're going to do because the EMS transporting capabilities of the commercial systems are diminished.”

Yaeger said counties across the state are searching for answers as they experience lengthy response times and situations where no ambulances are available at any given time.

“We can probably talk for a long time about it, but it really comes down to pay and work environment and working conditions of the EMS system. That’s why it’s in trouble,” he said.

Emphasizing that his responsibility is to make sure ambulances are there when “the citizens of this county” call for them, Yaeger said he has been talking at length with Battaglia, Mercy EMS and Le Roy Ambulance representatives and law enforcement agency leaders about how to handle mental health incidents that fall under New York Mental Hygiene Law 9.41 and 9.45.


Section 9.41 permits police officers and peace officers to facilitate emergency admissions for immediate observation, care and treatment for any person who appears to be mentally ill and is conducting himself or herself in a manner which is likely to result in serious harm to the person or others. Section 9.45 gives similar authority to directors of community services.

In both cases, transportation to specially designated health care facilities, such as Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, Erie County Medical Center or Wyoming County Community Hospital in Warsaw, likely is warranted.

So, the question facing Genesee County legislators is: Who should transport these individuals – emergency medical technicians (or paramedics) in ambulances, police officers (sheriff's deputies, Batavia PD, Le Roy PD) or – what currently is on the table – a combination of both?

With the number of ambulances on the road in Genesee County down from where it should be, Yaeger said he has been working with Mercy EMS to make sure it prioritizes service to Genesee residents.

“Counties outside of Genesee have been relying heavily on Mercy EMS to backfill their shortcomings, and have recently over the last five, six months, it got to a point that was just not manageable anymore,” he said. “So, we worked with Mercy and changed our policy from one ALS (Advanced Life Support) ambulance to two ALS ambulances in service in this county before we will honor an out-of-county ambulance request.”

While the revised schedule is working right now, that doesn’t address the primary focus of today’s conversation – transporting of those in a mental health crisis.


Yaeger indicated that most surrounding counties use law enforcement personnel to drive the patients to the hospital, but Battaglia – along with Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron – said that, in the majority of cases, is not the way to go.

Calling it “a concerning topic,” Battaglia said those suffering from mental health issues by no means should be considered “low hanging fruit.”

“I wanted to just point that out … that the mental health individuals in the community are also those community residents that need medical services,” she said. “And I have to remind everyone, that somebody that's in a mental health crisis is ultimately considered a medical crisis.”

Battaglia said she was pleased to hear that both Yaeger and County Manager Matt Landers are looking at transports on a case-by-case basis, stating that persons exhibiting symptoms of psychosis are at acute risk of harming themselves or others need assistance from a mental health professional.

“I do have some concerns about EMS medically assessing an individual to determine whether or not police should transport or EMS should transport,” she said. “If somebody is making statements that they are going to die by suicide or if they are having suicidal ideations and deny taking any kind of pills, when in fact they did, and potentially negated telling that to any personnel, that places everybody at risk because they're not going to exhibit any kind of medical symptoms right away.”


She agreed that the entire EMS and healthcare systems are stressed due to COVID and workforce shortages but warned against the marginalization of the mentally ill.

“… What the system and the advocates have worked really hard about is to not stigmatize and to reduce stigmatization of individuals who are mentally ill,” she offered. “So, if police protocol is to handcuff somebody in a mental health crisis because they're being transported on a 941 and placed them in the back of a police car, that's criminalizing -- that is stigmatizing … and could have detrimental effects. It could possibly force that person to not want to reach out for help in the future; it could be very traumatizing …”

Sheron advised that the county transitioned from police vehicles to ambulances years ago “because of the more humane way to transport somebody that's in crisis.”

“To put somebody in the back of a patrol car behind a cage and in very limited space, I think is not the proper place for somebody who's in mental health crisis -- plain and simple,” he said. “Now, when we have an individual that is violent and we believe that they may become violent in the ambulance, we’ll send somebody along with the ambulance, either following the vehicle or inside the rig itself.”

Other key points brought up during the discussion are as follows:

  • Yaeger and Landers agreed that the situation is “not a black and white thing,” with the former acknowledging that the EMS crisis now has taken precedence over the county’s efforts to fix staffing and other issues related to emergency response in the case of fire or motor vehicle accidents.

In response to a question from Legislator Rochelle Stein about the county’s contract with Municipal Resources Inc., a consulting firm based in Plymouth, N.H., Yaeger said MRI's mandate will be expanded from finding solutions to the widening gaps in fire department coverage to also include confronting the EMS dilemma.

  • Legislator Gary Maha asked what happens if a call for a mental health transport comes in and no ambulances are available?

Yaeger responded by saying that request would be put on hold. “It’s either that or we’re going to try to get a volunteer ambulance to cover that call. They may cover it, or they may not, but it's going to end up waiting.”

  • Legislator Marianne Clattenburg said it is incumbent upon the county “to change how we fundamentally are doing things” by removing elements of criminalization in mental health cases.

“(To place) someone ... in a cop car I just think escalates things and I worry about the liability on the county … if we were to do that,” she said.

She then asked if the county had a contract with Mercy EMS for a certain level of service, to which Landers answered that there is no formal agreement on staffing levels although the county does provide funding to the operation.

  • Responding to questions from Legislator Christian Yunker, Landers said there are approximately 500 calls for mental health crisis intervention in Genesee County annually, although many of them end up as family member transports. The plan being considered is to shift up to half from ambulance to law enforcement transport to the three destination hospitals referred to previously in this report.
  • Landers said the discussion will continue, and he looks to include Dan Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center, as legislators inquired about the possibility of the Batavia hospital becoming certified to accept individuals in the midst of mental health breakdowns.

“They're (Rochester Regional Health administrators) heavily invested in doing everything with the new campus (in Batavia), and obviously, they're doing great things there with the hospital expansion,” Landers said. “So, I would hope that this could be something down the road that we have in our own community, I think there's a need there based on what we're hearing about (the numbers) being transported out of our community.”

  • Battaglia, upon hearing that paramedics are not provided with the training to properly handle mental health cases, said she would be willing to provide it.

“Law enforcement knows I've done some trainings for law enforcement. I was just at Le Roy Police a couple months ago, providing mental health training,” she said. “So, if you know that it’s not provided when they’re being trained and going to school, then that is definitely something that I can I can assist with.”

October 19, 2021 - 1:49pm



Photos: Tim Yaeger, left, coordinator, and Gary Patnode, deputy coordinator, of Genesee County Emergency Management Services check out the features of the department's new Autel Robotics EVO II drone that will be used to assist in emergency situations. The 8-pound device can fly to a maximum height of 400 feet, has hovering capability and a memory feature that enables it to return from the point that it was launched. Currently, Dan Coffey, a New York State fire instructor and deputy fire coordinator for the Center Battalion, is the only authorized pilot, but others will be trained to operate it. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Emergency Management Services receives its first drone 

October 18, 2021 - 9:11pm

Genesee County Emergency Management Services received its first drone today, the department’s coordinator reported to the county legislature’s Public Service Committee.

Tim Yaeger said the drone, which actually is the county’s second (the Health Department also has one), will be used in situations involving hazardous materials, fire, search & rescue and other public safety issues.

He said the drone cost about $11,000 and was bought with Homeland Security funds. The type of drone that could be purchased, and the policies and procedures governing its use are set by New York State.

"In public safety terms, this is a beginner's drone," Yaeger said. "We wanted to start small and expand based on need."

Yaeger said the applications are varied -- from damage assessment to situational awareness to assistance in active fires and post-fire investigation to search-and-rescue operations. The drone features a thermal imaging camera attached to the regular camera.

One person has been trained as a pilot and a couple others will follow in that role, Yaeger said, noting that training will take place at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany.

Public demonstrations will take place in the near future, he advised.

Yaeger said drones were one of the topics discussed at the 2021 Homeland Security Conference in Las Vegas from Aug. 29-Sept. 3. He was able to represent Genesee with expenses paid for by a grant provided to the county.

“We’re beginning to see drones up in the air and flying illegally, outside of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certifications that they were given,” he said. “It’s something to be on the radar – that we have to look at for primarily large gathering facilities. Darien Lake comes to mind.”

He said that people are using drones to drop basketballs filled with contraband into prison yards.

“A basketball with things that aren’t supposed to be in prison, like cell phones. They fly over the top of the fence and they drop the basketball. The basketball bounces and they think it’s just recreational equipment that was left out by someone,” he said. “Now, they’re tracking these and it was an absolutely amazing technology.”

Yaeger also said technology is being utilized by emergency management and law enforcement to combat civil unrest.

“Getting better information and critical information back to the EOCs (Emergency Operations Centers) and back to law enforcement and 911 Centers,” he said. “It’s just coming faster and faster as we move through these uses of technology.”

He said emergency managers are being instructed to consider diversity in their communities in developing operational strategies.

“How we operated 30 years ago when fire, EMS and law enforcement within our population is not how we should be operating today. So, there are a lot of lessons learned by us reaching out to those communities,” he said. “Sometimes were in a silo and we think we know what those citizens are thinking … “

Yaeger said his staff will look at examples of communities that have initiated effective outreach programs.

Conference seminars also dealt with the collapse of the apartment complex in Florida and cybersecurity, Yaeger reported.

Ninety-eight people died when the 12-story Champlain Towers South collapsed in Surfside, near Miami, in the early morning hours of June 24.

Calling it a “very depressing event,” Yaeger said the seminar provided insight into "the psyche of the first responders to go to an event with very few survivors if any, and how we treat those first responders mentally to deal with those types of things … and also seeing those first responders deal with the anguish and disappointment that they’re not able to help.”

“It was not a very uplifting presentation but it was very well done,” he noted. “Just to see what other communities have done and how they deal with those mental issues that are out there, for not just the families of the victims … but, more importantly, from our perspective, the first responders and how to deal with that.”

On the subject of cybersecurity, he said National Grid personnel are concerned about the vulnerability of infrastructure, telecommunications, power systems and transportation systems.

He said emergency managers need to have a contingency plan in the event of a cyber-attack.

October 18, 2021 - 7:24pm


When it comes to being prepared for natural disasters, especially weather-related events, Genesee County is flying above the storm.

That was the message shared this afternoon by Judith Levan, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service’s Buffalo Office, as she announced the county’s standing as an NWS StormReady community.

Levan and Mike Fries, NWS warning coordination meteorologist, presented the StormReady office sign and certificate, to Tim Yaeger, coordinator of the county’s Emergency Management Services department, at a meeting of the County Legislature’s Public Service Committee at the Old County Courthouse.

“It is with great pleasure that I am here to represent the National Weather Service to present a StormReady community sign to Genesee County for its efforts to become recognized as a Storm Ready community,” she said. “In particular, I’d like to extend our sincere appreciation to Tim Yaeger … for the tremendous effort he has exhibited to accomplish the goals set forth in the program.”

Levan said that EMS employees have cultivated a strong working relationship with the Buffalo NWS Office, adding that she and her staff “recognize the diligent effort to maintain community readiness in anticipation of natural disasters of any type.”

“We do not look forward to any other natural disasters, however, if and when another does occur, you can be confident that officials in the county have improved their communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property. You are an excellent example for other municipalities in New York State and I applaud you for your efforts,” she said.

Noting that severe weather or flood warnings are ineffective if they aren’t communicated to those potentially affected, Levan said that the Genesee County-NWS partnership is such that “all aspects of communication, warning reception and response are sufficient as possible and that there are many backups in place in case one or more systems fail.”

She said that several requirements must be met to be recognized as a StormReady community:

-- The establishment of a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;

-- Having multiple ways to receive severe weather forecasting warnings to alert the public;

-- Creating a system that monitors local weather conditions;

-- Promoting the importance of public readiness through community seminars and education;

-- Developing a formal hazardous weather plan that includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency response exercises.

StormReady communities have the improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before and during the event,” Levan said. “I’m happy to say that Genesee County has not only met these criteria, but has substantially exceeding them in many categories.”

Photo: From left, Legislator Gordon Dibble, Tim Yaeger, Judith Levan and Mike Fries. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

July 29, 2021 - 12:56pm

Genesee County Emergency Management personnel are keeping employees of the consulting firm that has been hired to evaluate and fix the county’s emergency response capabilities very busy during their first visit to the area.

Four representatives of Municipal Resources Inc., based in Plymouth, N.H., arrived in Batavia on Tuesday and will heading back home on Saturday morning. During their 4 ½-day stay, they are meeting with a variety of stakeholders in the process – from the Genesee County Legislature to Chamber of Commerce officials to fire chiefs to governmental managers to business leaders to the Genesee Association of Municipalities.

“We’re getting in as many meetings as we can to help them conduct their interviews, collect data and solicit feedback primarily of the state of the volunteer fire and EMS service in this county,” Emergency Services Coordinator Tim Yaeger said today. “They wanted to be busy – morning to night, so we’re trying to get to as many stakeholders as we can before moving to the next stage where surveys will be sent out.”

Yaeger said the county will utilize Chamber of Commerce marketing and communication tools to get the surveys out to the businesses community and work with the municipalities to get them out to the public.

As previously reported on The Batavian, Genesee County is paying MRI Inc. up to $101,675 to study of the emergency response situation in the county and to develop a plan to ensure that all areas have enough staffing at all times to meet the public’s needs and expectations.

MRI Inc. officials in town at this time include Brian Duggan and Peter Finley Jr., director of Fire EMS & Emergency Management Services and senior associate for Fire EMS & Emergency Management Services, respectively.

Yaeger, once again, emphasized that the overwhelming majority of feedback is pointing to the lack of consistent and adequate staffing at the volunteer fire companies.

“It’s below where we need it to be, and we need to find a way to increase that activity level and the participation level of every fire department in this county,” he said. “How we get there is why they have been hired.”

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said he is open to “any model they (MRI officials) bring forth that has merit and makes sense.”

“Whatever way they want to utilize the county, I will certainly examine it and look at it – kick the tires – and, if it makes sense, I will certainly put my weight behind it,” Landers said. “Obviously, we are invested because the county is paying for the study and, right there, it should show the community at large that the county is invested in finding a solution for the long-term viability of fire delivery and emergency management services.”

MRI representatives met with Landers and county legislators last night.

“We’re all interested in hearing what workable solutions that can be put forth. No one is interested in having another study that sits on a shelf. We need action items and one of the action items can’t be just leave it alone,” he offered.

Yaeger said options may include incentives to attract more volunteers into the system, including compensation for volunteer firefighters, with the main priority being the safety of firefighters and residents alike.

“It’s kind of intriguing because these consultants as they go across the state realize that this problem is nationwide; this is not a New York State-centric issue or Genesee County-centric issue. This is very much a United States issue,” Yaeger said. “It’s going to be interesting to see that what fits and works in our county may not work in Orleans County.”

Calling it a five- or six-step process that will take some time, he said this week’s schedule of meetings with MRI consultants is an initial phase. Meetings are as follows:

Tuesday – Emergency Services Task Force.

Wednesday – County Manager, HP Hood, Genesee County Economic Development Center, Town of Alabama supervisor (pertaining to WNY STAMP), Chamber of Commerce, Emergency 911 Center officials, County Highway Superintendent (pertaining to the county water supply), Emergency Management Services staff, Fire Advisory Board, GAM.

Today – City Manager, City Fire Chief, Orleans/Wyoming/Monroe county fire coordinators, County 911 Board, Le Roy Ambulance director, Six Flags Darien Lake administration, fire department administrators, municipal fire station visits

Friday – Town of Batavia supervisor, Mercy EMS administration, E3 Communications and continued tour of the county.

“They’re looking to get a real good feeling of the county, including the agricultural impact and our current businesses …” he said. “Also, they will be starting to look at fire stations, fire equipment and fire trucks, which really has never been done; an assessment of our fleet, countywide.”


Landers also reported that an updated cost estimate of the proposed new Genesee County Jail has increased from the pre-COVID price of just shy of $63 million to $69 million.

“I was afraid that the project was going to go up to about $80 million, so I guess to only have a $6 million increase – as crazy as that sounds …,” he said, adding that the county should be able to offset some of that by using American Rescue Plan Act funding it received.

He said the legislature on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to move forward with the project, and that he plans to hold another meeting with the jail committee to make sure there is a consensus for the 184-bed design there as well.

The legislature asked Landers to update the jail operating expenses projections, too.

“Unless something crazy comes out of that, they are supportive of the 184-bed design, four pod jail,” he said.

May 20, 2021 - 9:03am

After years of high-level involvement in the fire and emergency services fields and months of overseeing testing and vaccination clinics to earn the unofficial title as Genesee County “COVID czar,” William Schutt has decided to take on a new challenge as the executive director of the Genesee County Youth Bureau.

And county legislators and management are supporting his decision by wholeheartedly endorsing him for the job at Wednesday’s Ways & Means Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

The deputy coordinator of Genesee County Emergency Management Services since August 2015, Schutt has been selected by an interview committee to replace Jocelyn Sikorski at the youth bureau, effective June 20.

Sikorski resigned in January when she accepted the executive director position at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.

Schutt said he’s looking forward to applying his experience and talents to programs and events geared toward boosting young people.

“I’m always looking for a challenge and I really enjoy being involved in the community – trying to make a difference and pay it forward – and doing something that will make the community better in the future,” Schutt said. “So, when the position came out -- I knew the previous director -- I took a look at it. It just kind of stuck out with how I was feeling about things at the current time.”

Schutt, a Basom resident, said he talked to Sikorski about the position and her comments piqued his interest in taking a closer look.

“It may seem like it’s quite a bit different but it still involves helping people, just in a different format than doing it as a first responder,” he said. “I am used to working on a variety of projects with a variety of things going on, and obviously, as a first responder, the spur of the moment stuff, and I think all of that transfers over very well.”

Before joining the county workforce on a full-time basis in August 2015, Schutt held a per diem position as deputy fire coordinator for about five years – assisting local fire and EMS agencies through the county’s Emergency Management office.

A longtime assistant fire chief for the Town of Alabama, Schutt was the general manager for Mercy Flight Inc. Mercy EMS, based in Batavia, from 2013-2015.

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said that Schutt has distinguished himself throughout his career.

“He is a familiar face to everyone – our quote, unquote COVID czar, who has been instrumental in our testing and vaccination efforts,” Landers said. “The interview committee is pleased to be recommending Bill for this position. I think his passion and organizational skills are well-suited for the youth bureau and the direction we want to take that department going forward.”

The interview committee was comprised of Legislator John Deleo and several members of the Youth Advisory Board.

Deleo, speaking to Schutt who was at the meeting, said he could see from the interview that Schutt is up to the task at hand.

“You seem to be a person that takes something and develops it. So, I’m very pleased to have you on board to take on this challenge,” he said. “With your background and everything, I think we’re going to win this. It’s kind of bittersweet though because we lose (you) from the other (Emergency Management department).”

Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein commended Schutt for displaying leadership “under chaotic situations,” referring to the coronavirus testing and vaccine clinics.

“What you’ve demonstrated already on behalf of the community here in Genesee County, I just look forward for even more to come,” she said.

Schutt said he is confident that he will be able to make a smooth transition, especially considering that he has had interactions with current youth bureau employees -- Chelsea Elliott (Youth Court and Safe Harbour coordinator) and Chelsea Green (program assistant).

He said he was getting up to speed on the county’s involvement with Safe Harbour, a state-funded program that supports services to youth who have been trafficked, exploited or are at risk, and already was familiar with other programs, such as Genesee Youth Lead and Youth Court.

A native of West Seneca, he said he participated in local town youth recreation programs growing up.

“I also was a Boy Scout and my son was a Boy Scout, and were involved in sports with the kids,” he said.

Schutt and his wife, Shelly, have a grown son and daughter, and two grandchildren.

A formal vote on his appointment by the full legislature is expected to take place next Wednesday. The position carries a $61,000 annual salary.

Previously: County youth bureau's Safe Harbour program tackles problem of human trafficking

August 17, 2020 - 9:08pm


The Genesee County Office of Emergency Management Services distributed more than 100,000 masks and nearly 22,000 2-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer through June 30 in its efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

In a departmental review presented to the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee today, EMS Coordinator Tim Yaeger (pictured above) reported that his office assisted about 250 agencies, “which then touched about another 100 agencies" from March 16 through June 30.

Yaeger said supplies went to first responders, churches, for-profit agencies, nonprofit agencies, and other organizations as it was “tasked upon us” during what he called a “difficult time.”

According to his report, the Personal Protective Equipment supply distribution was as follows:

  • N95 masks -- 8,412;
  • Surgical masks -- 66,636;
  • Cloth masks -- 48,354;
  • Gloves -- 65,300;
  • Hand Sanitizer (gallons) -- 605;
  • Hand Sanitizer (2 oz.) -- 21,996;
  • Thermometers -- 150;
  • Gowns/Tyvek Suits -- 1,275.

His report also indicated that the Emergency Operation Center, activated in response to COVID-19, was staffed on Monday through Friday, monitored on the weekend and manned by the department’s full-time staff with assistance from deputy fire coordinators and county fire instructors.

Hours of operation started at 12 per day before being reduced to nine per day during the final month.

He credited his employees, (Deputy Coordinator) Bill Schutt, Gary Patnode and Jeanette Diehl, for pulling together as a team, and noted that first responders in the community were understanding, “very, very cooperative, and everybody got through this.”

Yaeger reported that staffing of volunteer fire and emergency management services personnel throughout the nation, including Genesee County, is at a “critical level making it many times unlikely to provide the manpower necessary to respond to emergency situations.”

With that in mind, he said that a Volunteer Services Task Force at the county level has been established to address this issue. Several meetings have taken place to look at viable solutions and funding avenues.

He believes that the best option for emergency services is a “hybrid; volunteer/career, paid/unpaid, staffed/unstaffed, local/county system.”

His report indicates that qualified staffing needs to be available when mobilized, and hopes that the task force would come up with an effective plan.

“We need to find a better system that we have today,” he said.

Yaeger also reported on other aspects of his department as follows:

  • Nineteen of 20 jurisdictions (the Town of Alexander being the exception) have signed onto the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, which serves as a “blueprint for reducing the county’s vulnerability to disaster and hazards.”

Adopted in 2009, the HMP is a required guide for municipalities to be eligible for any state and federal mitigation funding. The updated County HazMat plan was approved by the legislature in October 2019.

  • Three new deputy field coordinators have come on board in the past 16 months – Brian Schollard, Dan Coffey and Chuck Dodson.

In a related development, the PSC approved the acceptance of a State Homeland Security Program grant in the amount of $109,781 in connection with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The bulk of the award ($82,336) will be appropriated to the Emergency Management Office operating budget to be used to develop regional partnerships, citizen preparedness efforts, cybersecurity programs, information-sharing capabilities and planning.

The remainder will be directed to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement terrorism prevention initiatives.

Photo by Mike Pettinella.

April 4, 2020 - 2:38pm

Submitted photos and press release:

When a crisis occurs, it is vital that communities collaborate. This week, the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP) made a significant donation to both the Genesee and Livingston counties' Emergency Management systems.

These donations amounted to thousands of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including gloves, disposable gowns, hand sanitizer, surgical masks, N95 respirator masks, blood pressure cuffs and alcohol prep pads. 

While schools are closed, these items will be benefit local communities in the fight against COVID-19.  

“Our nation is facing a pandemic that we have never encountered before," said Matt DellaPenna, GVEP director of Safety and Security. "These supplies will help to protect the brave first responders and healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of this COVID-19 outbreak.”

June 11, 2019 - 5:28pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Genesee County Office of Emergency Management Services is pleased to announce the appointment of Gary Patnode (inset photo, left) as Training Technician for Genesee County effective July 8, filling the position vacated by James Bouton after seven years of service.

Patnode brings with him more 20 years of experiences as a volunteer firefighter with the Town of Alabama, including 10 years as Alabama fire chief.

Additionally, he serves as a New York State fire instructor, a Certified New York State fire investigator and EMT-basic.

He is HazMat Team leader for the Genesee County Emergency Support Unit (ESU) and the deputy fire coordinator of the West Battalion (GM4) assisting Alabama, Corfu, Darien, East Pembroke, and Pembroke fire departments.

The Office of Emergency Management Services is also pleased to announce the appointment of Daniel Coffey (inset photo, right) as the deputy fire coordinator for the Center Battalion (GM3) as this position was also left open upon Bouton’s departure after almost 15 years as serving the Center Battalion.

Coffey brings 18 years of fire service experience to the position. He is currently serving as the fire chief of the Town of Batavia Fire Department, a New York State fire instructor and a member of the Genesee County Emergency Support Unit (ESU) as well as a member of the Genesee County Fire Investigation Team.

He is also a career sergeant for the City of Batavia Police Department.

As deputy fire coordinator of the Center Battalion, Coffey will provide assistant to Alexander, City and Town of Batavia, Bethany, Elba and Oakfield fire departments.

The county Office of Emergency Management Services looks forward to the knowledge, experience and positive impact these two men will bring to their respective positions.

On behalf of the fire and EMS service of Genesee County, we extend our appreciation to Jim Bouton for his years of service and dedication to the citizens of the county, and our best wishes to him in his future endeavors.

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