Emergency services come together for fifth annual RTF training

By Brandi Makuski

Local law enforcement and firefighters will gather during several special dates in June for Rescue Task Force training.

The fifth annual event will take place on the campus of UW-Stevens Point, largely in and around Pray-Sims Hall and the Collins Classroom Center. Due to the training, the city will close down public access to Isadore St. between Portage St. and Fourth Ave., as well as university parking lots E, P, T, V North, and Y.

The exercise will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 19, 20, 26, and 27.

The exercise pairs firefighters with local law enforcement, as well as Wisconsin State Patrol officers, Dept. of Natural Resources Wardens, local hospital personnel, and other agencies, in a simulated mass-casualty scenario. Volunteers are used to play victims suffering a variety of wounds.

Portage Co. Deputy Bob Wanta, who organizes the event, says it’s all part of the training to give emergency first responders a taste of a real live-shooter situation.

“We train on so many things, but this is our fifth year now (for RTF) and it’s been building a little more every year,” Wanta said. “It’s not always the same training every year. The concepts are the same, we’re just adding more and more.”

Wanta said the exercise helps emergency crews assess their own capabilities, and to revisit policies and procedures in the event of a mass-casualty event.

Neighbors and nearby businesses may see or hear emergency response vehicles and personnel, but anyone not associated with the exercise is asked to avoid the area.