Military units, first responders train at Volk Field for disasters

Military units and first responders from across Wisconsin are gathering at Volk Field this week for disaster and threat response training.

The ‘Miles Paratus’ exercise started Sunday and runs through Thursday.

A total of 22 military units and more than 50 civilian first responder agencies are taking part.

The drills test each agency’s ability to communicate and coordinate across agencies to provide medical services and conduct search and rescue missions.

“We have a different language, we have a different operational language and when we get to work through these scenarios, we get used to that language and the operational aspect of it now, so in the event it really happens, it’s not the first time we do it,” said Maj. Douglas Kolb, Executive Officer of the 64th Troop Command.

The scenario Monday had crews responding to a mock ammonia leak.

The La Crosse Fire Department was one of the agencies taking part. They say it’s important to get a wide variety of training, especially in scenarios that could happen in La Crosse.

“You have to train at different levels, you know you have to be good at tasks, you have to be good working within your own group and you need to expand your horizons and be able to work with other groups to accomplish a mission,” said La Crosse Fire Capt. Greg Temp.

A total of 2,500 people are participating in the five-day exercise.