County emergency management office to hold drill

The Montgomery County Emergency Management Office will conduct an “Interoperable Communications” drill on Saturday May 16 at the county office building and the county courthouse, both located on Broadway in Fonda.

The drill will start mid-morning and is expected to last about two hours, according to an announcement from Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort. Route 30A will be closed from Route 5 to Wemple Avenue, and a detour will be posted. Residents who live in the surrounding area will receive telephone calls informing them that a planned drill is taking place.

The drill will simulate several emergency situations, including an active shooter, hazardous materials, fire and police department response, and transportation to the emergency room at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, New York State Police, New York State Department of Transportation, Montgomery County Department of Public Works, Hazmat, St. Mary’s Hospital, New York State Court Security and the American Red Cross.

Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Jeffery T. Smith said the purpose of the drill is to “test our ability to respond and communicate in a time of disaster or emergency.” The drill, which has been planned for several months, is being conducted by C3 Pathways, a private consulting firm from Orlando, Fla.

“The goal of this exercise is to give first responders an opportunity to run through these scenarios, should they ever take place,” Ossenfort said. “This drill will show what our strengths and weaknesses are and allow representatives from key groups to collaborate on a cohesive response. The safety of county employees, court security [personnel] and local residents is a top priority.”

District 8 Legislator Joseph M. Isabel, chairman of the legislature’s Public Safety Committee, said Smith has “made it a priority to have much better coverage for the people of Montgomery County.” Isabel said the drill was planned “so that if an emergency ever takes place, our first responders will have experience dealing with the type of scenarios they may encounter.”

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.