Rockland County fire officials pride themselves in being prepared for just about any emergency.
But what happened on Christmas Eve 2012 in upstate Webster, NY, was a nightmare that perhaps defies the ability to prepare — when a 62-year-old man who had been convicted in 1981 for killing his grandmother set an ambush for firefighters, killing two of them and wounding two others.
During a gathering of Rockland County's fire chiefs and line officers on Thursday in Congers, firefighters and police discussed the Webster incident in hopes of helping the volunteers of local fire departments learn what to do if they ever face a similar situation.
Rockland County Undersheriff Robert VanCura and Sheriff's Lt. Andy Esposito led a presentation on approaches that can be taken by first responders in so-called "active shooter" incidents.
New City Fire Chief Kenny Flynn said the discussion was useful for him and other volunteer firefighters. However, he said the ambush faced by firefighters in Webster is just one of the many threats that firefighters face for which they have little or no control.