Emergency workers update their skills - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Emergency workers update their skills

Police officers and emergency responders from across Wisconsin have been updating their skills.

The week-long course wrapped up Sunday in Wausau, with a mass casualty simulation.

"We need to continually, to evolve, to respond to the threats that are being presented," said Chad Stiles.

From language barriers to critical care, organizers said the course helps strengthen skills and provide new tactics for handling dangerous situations.

"Law enforcement needs to be able to go in there, secure the scene and stop the ongoing threat, and then we need to figure out how we're going to treat all of these potential patients," said Stiles.

This is the fifth year that the program has been offered and organizers said next year's course is already filling up.

"This grant funding is allowing us to go throughout the state and train this on a large scale," said Stiles.

Officers say the tools learned in these drills can mean the difference between life and death.

"Everybody involved in a first responder position can benefit from," said Shane Heilmann.

For Shane Heilmann, who lost a colleague while in the field, it's about protecting those who are in danger.

"The sooner we can get medical help to people that are injured, the better chance they have to survive," said Heilmann.

Today's simulation marks the end to a week-long course meant to train law enforcement officials in these types of situations.

Organizers said even though this is a drill, the level of intensity mimics the real thing.

"Give them a taste of the stress of what they'd actually feel responding to one of these incidents," said Stiles.

25 students participated in the program this year.

Organizers said they hope to continue to grow the course in the coming years and already have two sessions scheduled for 2013.

Powered by Frankly