Agencies prepare for Mass Casualty Incident
Last Wednesday, Merrill Fire Department and Lincoln County Emergency Government hosted a Mass Casualty Incident functional exercise at the NTC Safety Building in Merrill. The exercise was designed for all of the emergency response agencies in Lincoln County. The exercise was facilitated by Tom Grahek and his team from Wisconsin Emergency Management.
The purpose of the exercise was to evaluate the ability of the local Emergency Responders to respond to a report of a Mass Casualty Incident. The exercise centered around the response to a MCI (Mass Casualty Incident) motor vehicle accident with a tour bus that had 56 passengers onboard. The simulate accident was located south of Merrill in Lincoln County, Town of Scott, at the intersection of County Rd. K and Q.
The effects of the simulated exercise was to cause the local agencies to activate it’s Emergency Operations Plan, develop a command structure, and communicate with all the agencies (Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement, and Good Samaritan Health Center) responding. The exercise gave the participants an opportunity to evaluate current concepts, plans, and capabilities for responding to an incident involving those critical decisions necessary to save lives and protect the public from possible dangerous events.
The focus of the exercise was to evaluate Lincoln County’s and the city of Merrill’s ability to provide essential services under less than normal conditions, to manage, and coordinate activities that could affect the lives of local citizens.
The functional exercise was a follow up to a table top exercise that was conducted in September of 2014. The table top exercise focused on discussion around the table while the functional exercise was more of a hands exercise as far as communications over multiple radio channels and activating and using the Incident Command structure. The plan is to take the exercise a step future and have a field exercise with real patients and a bus on its side this fall.
The agencies that participated in the exercise were Merrill Fire Department, Merrill Police Department, Emergency Government Director, 911 Dispatch, Good Samaritan Health Center, Corning Fire Department, Russell Fire Department, Pine River Fire Department, Lincoln Co Radio Group, Tomahawk EMS, Tomahawk Fire Department and NTC.
The overall goal of improving interoperability within the multiple emergency services disciplines within Lincoln County has been improved due to the exercise.