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Waste of time and money?

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September 21st, 2011, 08:14 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - A stretch of Interstate 990 was closed to traffic Wednesday night for what looked like a major disaster, but it was just a drill in Amherst.

It looked and sounded completely real. The scenario: a tractor-trailer carrying a load of chlorine had tipped over on the 990, and the chemical had spilled onto the roadway. Wednesday night's staged accident was a rare and valuable dress rehearsal.

State DOT spokesperson Susan Surdej said, "We do classroom training together, but to do a real-life scenario... we don't have the opportunities. We'd rather practice in an accident scenario than in a real-life incident."

If this actually happened, police, firefighters, paramedics, towing crews, and traffic agencies would have to be able to coordinate with each other. The drill helped them improve their response time and identify ways to keep themselves and the public safe.

East Amherst Volunteer Fireman Mitchell Steinhorn said, "How to utilize mutual aid companies and resources. We do a lot of joint training to get very familiar with everyone's equipment and everyone's personnel, as well as learning something new that you haven't learned in past training events."

John's Towing co-owner Church Grunzwig said, "We have to look out for the safety of the guys. Just to go out there, we need to know what we're dealing with."

Does a situation like this waste tax payers money, and commuters time, or are practice scenarios like these, really worth it in the long run ?
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September 21st, 2011, 08:34 PM
Poncho06's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Where is the link to the whole article? I'm assuming this was done at off peak hours and the public had notice and alternative routes.

These type of training scenarios are an invaluable training tool especially for departments that may be in more rural areas and may not have as many opportunities for real life larger scale emergency management. This would be especially valuable if there have been any changes to their OEM policy to work out any kinks prior to using it in a real emergency.

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September 21st, 2011, 10:08 PM
Frackel's Avatar DOh!
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I've seen similar drills, "accidents" and such done plenty of times. The thought they were a waste of taxpayer's money, or time, has never crossed my mind.

We want those in charge of our safety to be as best equipped and prepared as they possibly can be. They can't get all of the knowledge and experience they need if they simply sit idly by and wait for an accident to occur.

Could they possibly waste some money and time during these practice runs and drills? I'm sure they could. Is it worth it even if they do? My opinion is that yes, it is completely worth it. Especially since this sort of drill is reserved for things that COULD likely happen in that area. Just because they never do, doesn't mean they should never prepare in case. That's how accidents become worse.

I realize they do sometimes cause commuters time, and sometimes money too(not to mention headaches of dealing with it all), but I still feel that they're worth it. My time and money isn't worth more than another person's safety, or life. That's what these drills are done to protect-not my money and my time.
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September 22nd, 2011, 05:59 AM
-erin-'s Avatar Co-Host of the May2010 PR
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Yes, important for training and practice, but if they did it during rush hour on one of the beltways here or 95, or another major road, I'd be pissed. Traffic is bad enough usually

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September 22nd, 2011, 06:42 AM
plan4fate's Avatar I may bend, but not break
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no and no. valuable tools. I would not want the first time someone dealt with a hazarous chemical during an accident to be while it was laying on top of my car.

Do these cost money and time? Sure, but technically so do fire drills at schools so do tornado alarms, so do earthquake preparedness drills. But they are absolutely necessary for the safety protection of people.
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September 22nd, 2011, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Poncho06 View Post
Where is the link to the whole article?
That was the whole article, unfortunately JM won't allow me to post a link until I've had a minimum of 10 posts lol, sorry! I did try and link it though
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September 22nd, 2011, 08:35 AM
Tammyjh's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I agree with all the other posters in that its important training.

Found a link
Fake accident closed 990 in Amherst | WIVB.com
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September 22nd, 2011, 08:39 AM
K.A.T's Avatar Enjoying her Sticky Bun
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OK now that I read the actual article I can say that, no I do not think it's a waste of time and money.

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September 22nd, 2011, 10:05 AM
rose198172's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Nope, I don't think it was a waste of time and money. That's like saying that soldiers who go practice in the field (usually a 2 day exercise) are wasting taxpayer dollars. Better to practice in a somewhat real life situation than to not have the tools to know what you're doing when the real thing happens.
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September 22nd, 2011, 04:03 PM
WineKeepsMeSane's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Absolutely not a waste. Practicing scenarios allows you to see exactly where your gaps in planning and preparedness are. Table top exercises are good, but field exercises are better.

I'll see if I can find a couple videos that we watched during my Incident Management courses. One is on the response to the Minnesota bridge collapse, and the other is about a town that did a mock plane crash with a huge plane, figuring then they would be prepared for the smaller planes that land at their airport. Not long later a jet had to make an emergency landing at their small airport, and the results were amazing because of the things they had learned in their mock emergency.
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September 22nd, 2011, 04:34 PM
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As a former FF/EMT, I can tell you those drills are not a waste of time or money. We drilled for mass casualty and hazmat scenarios that way. It's not a waste of time because we were only doing it if nothing else was going on. If a "real" 911 call came in those of us that needed to stopped the drill. Our scenarios involved multiple departments, and participation all the way to the hospital where ER staff would go through the routine of what they'd do for hazmat and triage as they came in.
And they're not a waste of money because tax payers pay for EMS for ongoing training anyway.
Sorry traffic was inconvenient for a while but I can assure you the benefits outweigh the costs for these kinds of things. We usually only did 1 big one a year, so it's not like this is something civilians constantly have to worry about getting stuck in.
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September 22nd, 2011, 04:51 PM
Frackel's Avatar DOh!
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I'd rather see traffic bogged down by this than by some of the construction we have to deal with around here (which could be better managed but isn't).

I mean let's pretend it's not a mock accident. Are your concerns going to sit with the whole " golly gee they made traffic horrible tonight" camp? Doubtful, lol.
So be glad they're preparing now, so that if, and when, something big happens, you'll be less inconvenienced then
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September 22nd, 2011, 05:01 PM
Fluffy Baby's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I agree with it not being a wasted of time and money, but seriously, how often do things like this really happen?
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September 22nd, 2011, 05:30 PM
WineKeepsMeSane's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Our municipality does a field exercise once a year. I suspect other agencies are similar. It won't always be the same thing, so it probably isn't a road every year either.

Oh, did you mean how often do the exercises happen, or the emergencies?

It only takes one emergency for your preparedness training to be all worth it. The things you learn on one type of exercise apply to other types of emergencies too. It's not just about training firemen and paramedics what to do. It's ensuring other personel who don't do this on a daily basis know what to do. Like me. If there is a flood emergency in my city I'm a primary responder. I'm sure the public would like me to know what the hell I'm doing, who to call, how the emergency centre will operate, etc.
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September 22nd, 2011, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Fluffy Baby View Post
I agree with it not being a wasted of time and money, but seriously, how often do things like this really happen?

When I was working, we had a school bus wreck to take care of that was full of kids. Some genius blew a stop sign and t boned the bus, pushing it off the road and rolling it a few times down a hill.
5 kids had to be flown to a trauma center, and 20 something more had to be taken via ambulance to various area hospitals. The rest of the kids were treated on scene (to something that big, the physician in charge of EMS will usually show up) and then released to their parents. In all there were over 40 patients, and 6 departments plus MedFlight responded. No lives lost that day.
The exercises aren't just to train a person for a specific incident, but rather, how to react when the incident is so massive that your resources are stretched to the max. We never trained with a school bus scenario, but our training of other large scale incidents helped us be prepared for that.
How often do school bus wrecks happen? Often enough that you want to know the people responding to your child's wreck know what the crap they are doing.
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September 23rd, 2011, 11:30 AM
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I have never seen or heard of anything like this before. There are fire department "practice" fields around the area, where they will set their own building on fire so firefighters can work on putting it out or saving "victims", but I've never actually seen or heard of a practice scenario so large.
We also have real accidents like the practice one all the time around Toronto and the GTA
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September 23rd, 2011, 12:48 PM
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Posts: 67
Definitely not a waste of time or money. This is as close to the real thing as they can get, and that is invaluable.

Allthough I agree with the OP who said I'd be pissed if they did it during rush hour, haha!
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