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FDNY trains for hurricane response on Fire Island

FDNY trains for hurricane response on Fire Island
FDNY trains for hurricane response on Fire Island 02:08

FIRE ISLAND, N.Y. -- The FDNY descended on Fire Island on Thursday.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, the Suffolk County barrier island was transformed into a training ground to make everyone safer the next time a hurricane hits.

Imagine a Category 4 hurricane has slammed into Fire Island. There's widespread damage, severe flooding has breached the island, residents are stranded, rescue boats are needed, K9 teams search for missing victims, and injuries need to be treated.

"Stitches, broken bones, broken teeth, glass impalements," said Captain Dominic Bertucci from the FDNY Special Operations Command.

It looks real, but this is actually a full-scale exercise of the highly-trained FDNY Special Operations Command preparing for the worst.

"Just like we had in New York on 9/11 where we had people come in from around the country to help us, when there are large-scale disasters, we go around and help those that need it," Assistant Chief John Esposito said.

It's vital training for disaster response, in this case, the possibility that Suffolk County is inundated with a need for backup.

The FDNY Special Operations Command task force consists of firefighters with expertise they've offered around the nation.

"We're like the Swiss Army knife. We do hazmat, we do search and rescue, we do medical, we have K9s now, we got a drone unit going out there. So we can do it all," Chief Joe Downey said.

In reality, Long Island has never had a Category 4 direct hit, but it came close with a Category 3.

With hurricane season weeks away and extreme weather striking more often, this simulation can quickly morph into a real-world emergency.

The four-day exercise is based at Robert Moses Beach where 60 FDNY members rapidly set up a small self-sufficient city that can operate for days, making residents feel, "Safe that at least somebody can come come and get us out of here if we were trapped," Fire Island resident Debbie Lott said.

"They're training so they're going to know what they're doing," said resident Jacquie Jones.

You never know when training will be put to a real-life test.

Suffolk County Police will take part in a training exercise on Friday.

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