National Guard prepares for natural disasters

Local News

It can happen at a moments notice.

This week more than 700 civilians, volunteers, and military personnel are participating in a PATRIOT North training at Volk Field and Fort McCoy.

At each of the trainings across the country, the National Guard prepares for a specific natural or man-made disaster.

In Wisconsin, they’re preparing for flooding and severe thunderstorms.

“We’re there to support and supplement our civilian partners in any capacity that they need. So if it is bringing in supplies, then that’s the first thing we do. If it’s extricating people out then that’s what we’ll do. But we can usually do that in conjunction with one another,” said Lt. Col. Ashley Nickloes, PATRIOT North Deputy Director.

Just last August, Western Wisconsin went through a natural disaster with historic flooding.

The PATRIOT North training is preparing many different agencies on how to respond to that disaster together.

“The big part of it is the liaison officers who coordinate the activities between agencies. Because a lot of times what happens is we duplicate efforts,” says Salvation Army Incident Commander Captain John Gantner. “A bunch of agencies decide ‘okay we’re going to take care of food’, now you have too much food so then you have what is called a disaster after a disaster. So being able to communicate and figuring out our lines of communication before a disaster, it allows us to be much more effective.”

Tuesday, a C-130 Hercules aircraft practiced bringing supplies and tactical squads to a disaster location.

In the event of a disaster, the National Guard is at the forefront.

“The governor has what is going on, he’s got the big picture and he can talk to our adjutant general with the guard. He looks over and he says ‘okay what are our civilian partners able to provide, what is the military able to provide’. And we constantly are talking to how to best respond to the citizens,” said Nickloes.

Residents in Monroe and Juneau counties may notice an increase in military vehicles and aircraft during the training.

This year’s training will run through Thursday.

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