Operation Dark Sky begins in Fox Valley

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FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - Operation Dark Sky kicks off in areas of the state. It's an effort to prepare agencies from the local, state and federal levels for the possibility of a massive power outage.

"That's what Dark Sky is simulating are the physical and cyber that we need to be prepared to respond to as a state," said Capt. Joe Trovato of the National Guard.

"In Wisconsin, northern climates, especially in the winter time, power sources are something that we talk about a lot," said Outagamie County Sheriff Brad Gehring.

Now agencies are learning how to respond to emergencies without power together.

"When, God forbid, a real scenario does occur, it's not the first time you've worked together, not the first time you've learned how each agency operates," said Capt. Trovato.

Tuesday, Combined Locks, Buchanan, and Appleton fire departments responded to a simulation of a truck leaking hazardous material.

In Grand Chute, firefighters gave an example of how they would respond to an event possibly resulting in several deaths.

The victims were triaged with a wristband showing the person's urgency for treatment. That helps to organize incoming patients for a hospital that could be without power.

"My mantra is, it's not if it's going to happen, it's when it's going to happen," Tracey Froiland, Fox Valley Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition, said. “A plan isn't a plan until you've practiced it and made it better, and so it's so important with our community partners because it takes everyone to make this happen."

Several more simulations will take place over the next two days.

"(Wednesday) we'll be talking about all hospitals being without gas, power, and network, meaning no internet, and how we would function and for how long we could function," Froiland said.