UPDATE: Local communities to train for mass power outage scenario

Published: Apr. 23, 2018 at 2:49 PM CDT
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The Wisconsin National Guard is helping communities prepare for a possible long-term mass power outage.

A full-scale training exercise known as Dark Sky is May 15-17 in Brown, Calumet, Dane, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Outagamie and Winnebago Counties.

Utility companies, law enforcement and first responders will be part of the power outage simulation.

"The what ifs. We're trying to fill in those spots for the what ifs," said Rob Olson, Outagamie County Emergency Management.

The National Guard says the public may notice military presence and increased emergency personnel during the exercise.

The National Guard says the training exercise is to prepare for a possible attack on the state's infrastructure.

“Our emergency management community must be prepared to deal with the myriad scenarios and challenges posed by a long-term mass power outage, and by training together, we continue building meaningful relationships that leave us better positioned to respond to a real-world situation," says Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general.

No homes will lose power but simulations will take place.

In Outagamie County those scenarios will include mass casualties to hazardous material and natural gas.

"We've got our private providers out there, we've got our partnerships out there that we're all testing and ensuring that we can communicate," Olson said. "We're ensuring how to we support each other in the time of need."

In Omro, National Guard soldiers will go door-to-door to conduct welfare checks as part of the training.

"They will only be asking preparedness questions," Omro Community Development Director Dana Racine said. "They won't be coming into the house and they won't be collecting any personal information."

Omro residents can expect to see soldiers going around neighborhoods on May 16. The soldiers will knock on doors and pass out emergency preparedness information during the afternoon hours.

Again, the training exercise is scheduled for May 15-17.