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AUSTIN, MN – It’s the kind of learning you definitely can’t do in a classroom.
“A training exercise, inter-agency, with Austin Utilities, the Austin Police Department, Gold Cross Ambulance and the Austin Fire Department,” said Commander Tom Schulte with the Austin Fire Department.
Emergency crews are given a scenario and they have to respond accordingly.
“At one of our well houses here in town, we have many of them scattered throughout the community, where there would be a chemical leak, an employee would be down, and we’d be calling emergency services into that site,” said Austin Utilities General Manager Mark Nibaur.
Exericses like this not only give responders valuable hands-on training, but it also helps strengthen the crucial working relationship between the different agencies.
“When an event like this would occur in real life, those lines of communication need to be open so everybody knows what to do,” said Chief Brian Krueger of the Austin Police Department.
In a real-life emergency, time is of the essence. That’s a lesson the crews are learning during this training.
“It took a little while to get some suits on, they didn’t go into the chlorine room, they went into the pump room,” said Chief Krueger.
But that’s exactly why they have drills like this: To work out all the kinks and practice their skills before they’re really put to the test. Overall, mission accomplished.
“Our number one priority is life safety. We were able to get in there quickly, get the victim out, and got him on an ambulance right away. We were able to then go in and secure the gas leak,” said Schulte.
The training drill took place at Utilities Energy Park in Austin.