Training From The Tapes

By Jim Madalinsky

Published 12/04 2013 10:05PM

Updated 12/04 2013 11:14PM

BEDFORD - Bedford County Emergency Manager Dave Cubbison says he and other emergency personnel from throughout the region listen to these types of 9-1-1 recordings often, and he says the information they get from them is critical.
“We're in a constant learning curve. How can we do something better? How can we plan better? How can we mitigate the situation better?” Cubbison says.
Cubbison hasn't listened to the newly released 9-1-1 recordings from Newtown, Connecticut yet, but he plans to soon.
It's something he does regularly with both local situations and national tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year.
“When we listen to tapes like this we're able to evaluate our own position. Many times we'll say not if it's going to happen but when it's going to happen in our jurisdiction,” Cubbison says.
Dispatchers in the Sandy Hook shootings have been praised for remaining calm during the chaos.
But Cubbison says he listens more to the people making the calls.
“The context of a call is very important because you can learn so much from the context and the content so as an emergency manager we look at these quite often, usually the larger incidents,” Cubbison says.
Information from those calls play a major part in the planning process for active shooter drills and other events that help schools, businesses and other public buildings prepare for the worst.
And while Cubbison says he understands that these tapes aren't necessarily for everyone to hear, any and all information that he can take from them is welcome.
“They say practice makes perfect. It doesn't. Practice makes permanence and that's what we look for the permanent goal of being the best we can,” Cubbison says.
Cubbison added that preparations for these types of situations are always changing and unfortunately each time there's a tragedy like this, it's up to them to learn as much as possible.

Note: WTAJ News chose not to air the 9-1-1 recordings released Wednesday due to the sensitivity of the issue.

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