A mock car accident brings together about 25 emergency service agencies in the North Country. As our Barry Wygel tells us, the training exercise had a number of goals.
CANTON, N.Y. -- This may look like a serious accident, but it's actually a carefully orchestrated training exercise.
"It's actually designed for a number of ends. For the EMS end of it, it's designed for the fire-rescue end, and also the Canton-Potsdam Hospital is involved," said Brian McCluskey, 2nd Asst. chief of the Canton Fire Dept.
Saturday's scenario included sixteen patients, half of which were inside two cars that needed to be cut open to remove the patients. This required a lot of emergency responders.
"We have, actually, 16 agencies on scene and there's probably roughly another eight that are affected in the county, said McCluskey.
It may look like chaos on scene, but it's actually all carefully planned. When a 911 call comes in and says there are multiple injuries, it triggers the county's mass casualty incident plan.
"In this drill, the entire EMS system for a mass casualty incident for St. Lawrence County in this region is being exercised," said Joe Gilbert, Director of Emergency Services for St. Lawrence County.
Gilbert said that situations like this are great for correcting mistakes that might go unnoticed.
"You know, it is training. We're intentionally looking for mistakes so that we can improve on them. But overall, I think it's doing really well, said Gilbert.
"Main thing of course, of everything with an incident like this, is safety. We spend hours on hours just putting everything together and try to make everything run smoothly, added McCluskey.
Officials say they hope they never have to use the skills they practiced here today, but if they do, they are going to be ready.