Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.

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Larchmont Ambulance Corps Readies for Full-Scale Emergencies

At the beginning of May, the Larchmont Volunteer Ambulance Corps (VAC) took part in a full-scale emergency drill at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY. A commercial airliner was simulated colliding with a small single-engine plane. The “collision” left 150 “victims” on the runway, actors playing the part of survivors of the planes that had broken apart and burned.

In addition to the Larchmont group, there were many local organizations participating in the drill, including three major airlines, seven fire departments, 20 EMS agencies and several law enforcement departments, among them the Westchester County police and the FBI.

Volunteers play the part of victims from a plane collision in a full-scale emergency drill at the Westchester County airport. Photo by Noah Goldberg

Attending the drill from VAC were Grant Nishanian; second lieutenant, Sean O’ Brien, Jr., third lieutenant; Michael Destine, EMT, and Carly Casterella, attendant/driver. This wasn’t the first drill for the Larchmont VAC.

“We’ve participated in drills like this before,” said Mr. Nishanian. “Luckily we haven’t had to respond to an emergency on a large scale recently, but we feel ready to in case something does happen.”

The simulated drills are considered excellent training for first responders to practice in a realistic setting. “This is a learning opportunity to see what is going right and what needs to be adjusted,” said Mr. Nishanian.

While VAC attended the event as a team, each member had the opportunity to take on different duties. This gave each a unique perspective and the chance to develop skills to manage responding to a full-scale emergency at the Westchester County Airport or another location.

More than 400 people were involved in the actual drill on May 1st. They included first responders, actors, exercise controllers and evaluators. Mr. O’Brien believes these drills are of great value to the community. “It shows that we train and keep our skills, and it makes the surrounding community feel far safer knowing what we do. The community can also volunteer as patients for drills which gives them a closer look into what we do.”

For those concerned about the potential of being in a full-scale emergency, Mr. Nishanian offers the following suggestions, “If you are in an accident, you have to stay calm. When the first responders arrive, there will be a lot going on at once. If you are the one to call 911, let the dispatcher know what’s going on honestly.”

“It’s okay if you don’t know something,” he added. “Don’t make up an answer because you think that’s what the dispatcher wants to hear. It’s important to answer questions honestly, so they can get the right people to the scene and let them know what’s going on enroute.”

The full-scale drill was organized by airport officials and Westchester County’s Department of Emergency Services and Department of Public Safety. While the FAA considers these drills a requirement every three years, the Westchester County Airport conducts a full-scale drill every alternate year.

Abigail Beal is a volunteer writer with the Larchmont Ambulance Corps. Information on VAC or on volunteering can be found at

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6 comments to Larchmont Ambulance Corps Readies for Full-Scale Emergencies

  • Eleanor

    We are very fortunate to have a wonderful volunteer department with dedicated residents staffing the corp. I hope more people will go to and consider volunteering.

  • Kathy Mueller

    The Larchmont Vac department is a model of the way departments like this should be run. The volunteers give hours of service and spend additional hours training and retraining to be prepared for emergencies that arise in our community. Many thanks to all the volunteers!

  • vol

    Nice to see such a commitment.
    In the past 2 years, my older children went to the VAC building to sign up as volunteer.
    They were told to fill the web application once back home.
    They NEVER heard back from anyone despite the follow up calls.
    Apparently, the person in charge is never around when you ask.
    To be fair, that doesn’t say anything about the quality of the VAC department, but please take the
    volunteer needed sign out if you know you won’t ever dare answering the applications.

  • Grant Nishanian

    Vol, I find that odd. Please have them feel free to contact me directly. My contact info is on the LVAC website.

  • Sam

    I know that Scarsdale Ambulance Corp. does not take anyone under the age of 18. I couldn’t find any information on LVAC website about what the minimum or maximum age is for volunteering. How old does a volunteer have to be, and if there are other qualifications they should have. Is there a committment for how many hours you have to put in?

  • Grant Nishanian

    There are a limited number of volunteer spots for people ages 16-18 in our junior membership program. Senior membership is 18+. Training for new volunteers is done at nights between 7pm-11pm and on the weekends earlier. You should commit at least one shift a week. LVAC is a serious volunteer opportunity for people who have an interest in learning about ambulance operations. Anyone with any questions should feel free to contact us at We welcome new volunteers to contact us from the local area!