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It was all hands on deck in Sparrowbush Saturday morning as the Orange County Department of Emergency Services conducted a mass casualty exercise on the commuter rail line. Our Alexandra Weishaupt has more on the preps behind the procedure.
SPARROWBUSH, N.Y. -- Several agencies throughout Orange County joined together in an effort to train, improve and perfect life-saving measures in emergency situations.
“We do have passenger trains that come out of Port Jervis through New Jersey, so it’s certainly something that could happen in this area,” said Orange County Department of Emergency Services Commissioner, Walter Koury.
There were smoking train cars, overturned school buses and 65 victims.
“They’ll be doing triage on the train, the bus, they’ll set up a treatment area and a transport area,” said Orange County EMS Coordinator Frank Cassaniti. “There will be victims that are in shock, some victims that are critical and some that are DOAs.”
About 225 responders arrived on scene, jumped into gear and worked together to test their safety plans and procedures through a unique training exercise designed to meet Homeland Security evaluation standards set by the federal government.
“Even though the scenario is something we hope we never see; this large scale type incident. What we learn from this and the actions that we practice here are things that we can apply to any incident that we respond to,” said Orange County Deputy Commissioner of Fire Services Vini Tankasali.
It was a chance to provide real-world experience to Orange County fire crews, rescue squads and EMS should devastation of that degree ever occur.
“We train for it, so we can respond to it,” said Cassaniti.
Once the exercise was complete several meetings were scheduled to discuss what went right and what areas needed improvement. Officials said large-scale drills such as Saturday’s are held once a year within the county.