Updated 11/08/2008 05:55 PM
Volunteer response teams hold training exercise
ORISKANY, N.Y. - This may look like an emergency, but it's just a drill. It is part of the New York State Office of Homeland Security's annual volunteer training weekend. An opportunity for emergency response volunteers to learn and practice the essential skills needed in the event of an emergency.
"I want to be able to say, "Hey, I can do that, I can help out with that. There's never enough people. There's always someone else that you can use, another pair of hands. The more I know, the more versatile I am, I can do more things," said Linda Walkowiak of Hicksville, N.Y.
Everything from decontamination, to learning how to recognize and deal with explosive devices, and even identifying the severity of a patient’s condition, shown through this triage exercise on stuffed teddy bears. All these exercises are important to keeping volunteers up to date with current technologies.
"Life safety is important. We want to take care of the victims, the families, we want to get that help there quickly, but as new technologies come along it's really important that people stay current with that," said Betsy Galloway, Eastern U.S. Region Manager for Science Applications International Corp.
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And while knowing what to do on scene is very important, knowing how to get to the scene safely is just as important, and to mimic that is where the SkidCar comes in.
"The system is designed to let an instructor create various loss of control or changing grip condition situations for a driver at low speeds in a safe environment," said SkidCar Instructor Steve Westerberg.
Allowing the driver to react as if traveling in harsh weather conditions, and learn the proper driving techniques to stay safe in those situations.
"We're trying to provide them with something that is actually valuable to them for their safety, as well as that of their communities," said Homeland Security Training Center Director Douglas Sandbrook.
Training such as these could be the difference between life and death in the event of a real emergency if it ever occurs.
For more information on upcoming training exercises and to find out how you can register, head to the New York State Office of Homeland Security website.