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The Chautauqua Area Search Team was started in 1999 by New York State Forest Ranger Tom Koss to be used as a support group to him and other Forest Rangers on large scale searches. The team was made up of men and women of various fire departments around the County. After about 6 years the team became inactive.

In 2012, under the current New York State Forest Ranger, Dave Pachan, and under the direction of Chautauqua County Emergency Services, the team became active again. The team's role is to serve as a support team to the New York State Forest Ranger and the Chautauqua County Fire Service.

The team is made up of 14 members from all over the county and they are all DEC certified. More than half the team is Crew Boss certified. The team is available to assist local fire departments in searches. The Chautauqua County CAST Team can activate the team by calling County Dispatch or by requesting through your Battalion Coordinator. We will also come and train your fire department in search techniques.