Only a drill: Emergency responders plan simulation

NORWICH – A group of about 70 professionals and volunteers will participate in a simulated emergency test set to take place in central Chenango County sometime during the week of April 6-12.

The exact time, place and date are being withheld intentionally in order to make the drill of local responders as authentic as possible. The event will serve to test the reactionary skills of state, county and municipal fire, police and emergency management officials, Chenango Memorial Hospital, the Chenango County Department of Public Health and a handful of other organizations.

Norwich Police and Fire Chief Joseph Angelino said the exercise offers an opportunity “to learn from our weaknesses in a in a controlled environment.” The role of the Norwich police would be limited in the event because most of the activity will take place outside of the city’s limits, Angelino added.

Coordinator Robert H. Benton, Jr., owner/operator of TASIS Communications, a Norwich-based emergency communications company, said the public is being made aware of the upcoming simulation for safety reasons. He said even though all emergency scanner announcements at the start and during the planned four-hour event should begin with a disclaimer, some responders might forget to say “this is a drill” and some listeners might become alarmed, regardless.

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