New Haven & Yale conduct drills with FEMA

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Shootings, fires, and chemical leaks were all part of an emergency drill conducted by New Haven first responders over the last couple days.

It is has been a busy couple of days for the first responders in the New Haven area.

A series of tragedies all hit the Elm City at once from a mass shooting to a fire at Harbor’s oil tank farm.

“We had a bank robbery down an Whalley Avenue, we had a multi-car accident on the Oak Street connector, so we kind of spread our resources around,” said Rick Fontana, New Haven Emergency Management Operations Deputy Director.

Fortunately, it’s all part of a drill that New Haven and Yale are conducting with FEMA to see how well the area responds to emergencies, and how well agencies work together.

“Wanted to test our own mass casualty plans, so here we are with FEMA, a group of about 12 instructors,” said Fontana.

In this scenario, among other things, there’s a chlorine leak at one of Yale University’s pools, and an anhydrous ammonia leak at Yale’s Ingalls Rink. New Haven authorities have to collaborate with Yale, because in the past, when disaster strikes New Haven, it usually happens at Yale.

For instance, the Yale campus has been bombed twice in the past 21 years, and last November, a fake tip about a gunman on campus prompted a very real response from federal, state, and local law enforcement. Yale has its own police department and emergency plans, but it has to work well with the city.

New Haven first responders

“You can’t expect a football team to be a winning team if they don’t practice, and we are together all the time, we get together and rehearse all the time,” said Maria Bouffard, Yale Emergency Management Director.

That’s why Yale and New Haven put in for the grant to get this training. News 8 asked if the instructors had told them how they were doing…

“In their 33 years of doing this that the law enforcement side was incredible in the collaboration through many agencies,” said Fontana.


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