Responders learn through simulated power outage

MADISON (WKOW) —  Across the state more than 1,000 people are participating in an exercise called “Dark Sky”.

It started at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and runs through Thursday at 5 p.m. without stopping.  

State agencies, local public safety, private sector, and volunteer organizations are participating in the exercise to learn how they should react in a real disaster.

“It’s important to exercise all the time,” said Emergency Management Spokesperson, Lori Getter. “It one’s thing to write a plan and talk about a plan but you don’t want to put it on a shelf. You want to exercise it.” 

This type of disaster exercise takes years to plan. 

“Every other year we have a state wide full scale exercise,” said Emergency Management Division Administrator Brian Satula. “It takes two years to plan that, to get all the players involved, and have goals and objectives.”

The focus of this exercise is a massive power outage.

“Power is the key to our very civilization and our life,” said Satula. 

It is just a simulation, so no one will lose power. 

The state operations center is in Madison, but they have people practicing in the field as well. 

“They’re getting information from the field,” said Getter. “Out in the field, especially in the east central portion of the state, they’re doing hands on demonstration. Either hazmat spills, or law enforcement searches.” 

It’s not just firefighters and police officers practicing their emergency responses. The Salvation Army was participating as well. 

“It gives us an opportunity to learn what each other’s capabilities are and also to look at where we can fill the gaps,” said Terry Leece with the Salvation Army.  

Getter wants to emphasize there’s value in everyone preparing for disaster situations. 

“We want every citizen to think about, if you had a major power outage, would you be ready? Do you have an emergency kit in your home?” said Getter.

If you’re interested in creating an emergency kit, Ready Wisconsin has directions. 

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