Just a little more than a year after shootings at Binghamton's American Civic Association claimed 14 lives, emergency responders are using the incident as a teaching tool. As our Kat De Maria tells us, the Broome County Emergency Services Director spoke in East Syracuse about what went right and what went wrong that day.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y.--The shootings at the American Civic Association in Binghamton were tragic and devastating. But they also generated many lessons, including about how to respond to similar incidents.
"We've always been concerned about the possibility of an active shooter situation. We wanted to take advantage to have somebody come up and talk to us about the situation," said Manlius Critical Response Committee Chair Bill Bleyle.
Broome County Emergency Services Director Brett Chellis spoke to members of the Manlius Critical Response Committee and others Thursday. His agency commissioned a report, which he's now sharing, on what went wrong at the ACA, but also what went right.
"A lot of the mustering of resources, the initial law enforcement response was very decisive, very strong," Chellis said.
The shooter, Jiverly Wong, killed himself and 13 other people, Chellis says, within a couple of minutes. But he says it's believed Wong took his own life sooner than expected because of the police presence.
Afterward, emergency responders were left with the aftermath of an international disaster.
"The handling of the public information is one area we want to improve on when we're talking a multi-jurisdictional event like this that goes from a city incident to an international incident in moments," Chellis said.
Even though people in Binghamton and across the country and world just relived the shootings on their first anniversary last week, Chellis says the lessons are important to be sharing now.
"The alert system about how we can do a reverse 911, call people in the area and tell them either to remain inside or not use their cell phone," said Manlius Police Sgt. Jeff Peckins.
"Never thought about the barriers really about the different languages. I never really though about that with the community," said Asst. Minoa Fire Chief Richard Sabin.
Responders say they will continue to talk about the Binghamton shootings, and prepare, in case a tragic and devastating incident happens, not in our backyard, but in our community.
Emergency responders we spoke with say they enjoy good communication among their agencies, and feel it will improve even more with the upcoming switch to a new 911 system.