Press-Republican

Local News

July 29, 2013

Simulated plane crash prepares responders

(Continued)

The exercise also gave the various organizations a chance to build relationships, so in the event of an emergency they are truly prepared.

“It was a pretty major undertaking,” Kreig said. “It’s the culmination of over a year in planning by the airport staff and partnering agencies.”

‘A GOOD TEST’

Also taking part were: State Police, Homeland Security, CVPH Medical Center, Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, Clinton County Emergency Services, the North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross and an attorney from the New York State Bar Association.

“The goal was to exercise our plan and give them the opportunity to exercise their plan,” Kreig said.

The South Plattsburgh Department, which supports Airport Fire, gave directions to the crash site and helped victims, assisted with any fires and completed any necessary extrications, explained Chief Jeff Santor.

“It was pretty realistic,” he said. “It was a good test of response.”

SHOWS OFF RESOURCES

Nine Red Cross volunteers handed out water to keep everyone at the drill hydrated.

“Had this been a real event, we would have done the same thing,” North Country Chapter Executive Director Lynn Gilbert said.

Knowing those from other agencies is important in situations like the one at the airport, she said.

“It’s always a fabulous experience to work with our partners,” she said.

Another benefit was “allowing the community to better understand the resources available to them.”

‘IT WAS SURREAL’

Volunteer victim Heather Garza of West Chazy, an EMT, was told she had a head and chest injury for the simulation.

She, as did the other “injured,” was given a tag identifying their wounds. Others included gaping chest trauma, numerous puncture wounds, burns and broken arms.

“It puts it into perspective, if it’s the real thing,” Garza said. “It was surreal, to see all the trucks come.”

DEBRIEFINGS

Michael Allen, an airport firefighter, thought the drill felt real.

“You put your mind into it, that it’s real,” he said.

Allen said they intend to learn from what went right and what went wrong. An evaluation will be written after a few debriefing sessions, he said.

“Every time we get together, we improve,” he said.

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