Federal Disaster Drill in WNY

June 15, 2011 Updated Jun 15, 2011 at 5:37 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

June 15, 2011 Updated Jun 15, 2011 at 5:37 PM EDT

Cheektowaga, NY (WKBW)- State, federal, military, and local agencies teamed up today at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to exercise the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS). The drill helps with coordinating emergency medical services in case of a disaster. Participants underwent a mock scenario, where they assisted 'patients' who were recently evacuated from an earthquake. During the drill, 'patients' were then transported to designated Federal Coordinating Centers (FCC), which includes the WNY Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.

"These drills are paramount," said Jerry Cartier, Department of Veteran Affairs Emergency Manager for Central and Western New York. "If we actually had a natural disaster and had to activate the FCC it would make the effort much easier."

The Niagara Falls Air Base 914th Airlift Group also worked with local emergency personnel to show what the military can provide during a disaster. In the event of an activation of the NDMS, VA WNY Healthcare System is the designated FCC in Western New York and responsible for coordinating transport, communication, medical manpower, and patient administration for injured patients evacuated from disaster zones