Prepared for Turbulence

By Alice Maggiore

May 12, 2012 Updated May 12, 2012 at 7:17 PM EDT

Town of Maine, NY (WBNG Binghamton) You can't plan how to handle a disaster, but you can prepare how to respond. Whether it's a flood, or a medical emergency, preparedness training is critical for first responders, government agencies, and law enforcement.

Saturday morning, The Greater Binghamton Regional Airport and emergency responders from all around Broome County participated in a simulation airplane crash.

Planning for the worst and hoping nothing happens.

"Part of that is roleplaying, taking a victim, and transporting them, just as they would in a real situation," says Commissioner of Aviation at the Greater Binghamton Airport, Carl Beardsley.

Fire surrounds victims lying among wreckage from a simulated airplane crash as fire trucks, and emergency response vehicles plow through torn up roads to respond.

"In this instance, we had a situation where the airplane landed off the airfield. It complicates things a little bit, but it's good practice because you never know what's going to come your way," says Beardsley.

"It has to be as if this is really actually happening," says County Executive Debbie Preston. "In our command center, inside there, it is as if it's really happening."

While the Federal Aviation Administration requires a test of this nature once every three years, Greater Binghamton wants to make sure it's flying ahead of potential turbulence.

"Every year, we'll run through an exercise but we'll do it just sitting at a table and talking about it," says Beardsley. "It's a yearly training, but every three years we do a full shebang."

A simulation that draws several emergency responders from across the county.

"It's not just the response team, the great emergency response team that we have, but it's mutual aid, it's all emergency services that make this a success," Beardsley says.

"We've got a really good crew," says Preston, who is proud to call Broome County home.

"In a real emergency situation, that could have 50 souls on board, it's really going to be the entire community taking part. You name it, they're gonna be here to help us out," says Beardsley.

Beardsley and Preston are just a few of the county officials watching the situation play out from headquarters.

They took notes on what went right, wrong, and where there's room for improvement.

They will debrief with all participants in the coming days.