Emergency management exercise tests responders - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Emergency management exercise tests responders

By Bonnie Shelton

STEVENS POINT (WAOW)--Emergency crews spent the day Thursday going through a special training session on the UWSP campus. The drill gives emergency responders a chance to practice skills they hope they'll never have to use.

Crews spent the day working through a simulated hazardous material emergency exercise to test equipment and response time. "The basic premise was that we had a discovery of an unauthorized hazardous material operation on campus in a small room in our food service area," said UWSP Director of Safety and Loss Control Jeff Karcher.

 In this type of situation, campus officials assess the scene first, then call local emergency crews for back-up if the problem is too big for them to handle. Response requests escalate up a chain of command depending on the severity of the situation.

"The great thing about these exercises is it builds a bridge between the military aspect and local responders to make sure the citizens are safe," said Major Michael Rothschadl of the Wisconsin National Guard's 54th Division.

Crews said the colder weather was a help, not a hindrance in the day's simulation because it allowed them to test their equipment against the elements.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton

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