Jon Ordway works on a "victim" during the mock drill.
continued Small teams of EMS members attended to each victim, applying appropriate medical attention until the victims could be transported to an ambulance. Radios were going off every few seconds as the volunteers coordinated their efforts. Everything was running smoothly. The volunteers knew exactly what they were doing.
All was not well, however, at the Town Hall. Despite being the drill’s command post, it was nearly impossible to open communication with the drill site. No one at the Town Hall had any idea what was going on; they weren’t picking up anything on their radios, and they weren’t able to establish a reliable land line with the firehouse. Though communication was something the drill meant to improve, it seemed to be failing on all counts outside the crash scene.
When the drill ended, all the volunteers reconvened at the Town Hall for a debriefing. Tensions were high at first due to the lack of communication, but the volunteers at the scene revealed they’d tried multiple times to radio the Town Hall. The communication issue wasn’t due to a lack of care or breach in protocol but a massive radio dead zone between the Town Hall and the crash site. Several people suspected it had to do with the difference in elevation between the two locations, a valuable lesson learned in case an actual emergency ever happened in that area.
“That’s the reality of living in the Adirondacks,” said Lynn Green about the dead zone.
Despite the communication issues, the drill showed improvement over last year’s drill in several respects.
According to Patty Warrington, response time went down drastically and the volunteers were much more organized. She was pleased with the teamwork between all the organizations. Fostering “multi-agency cooperation,” as she called it, was one of the key reasons she organizes drills like this.
Corey was also pleased with the event, and even with the mishaps, thought it was a valuable learning experience.
“In a real emergency, if you haven’t dealt with things like this and don’t have the practice, it makes it difficult to respond effectively,” Corey said.
Minerva and its neighbors certainly have the practice now. Should a plane ever actually crash, they’ll be more prepared.