Ryan Harden

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Trail Ambassadors Train With Wisconsin Emergency Management

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In the event of a recovery emergency, Wisconsin has a great set of partners when it comes to offering aid to local crews who need help. Our Trail Ambassadors (Division 1 & Division 2) support Wisconsin Emergecy Management's Air Coordination Group as one of the potential ground crews. Yesterday, we did a statewide practice between a few agencies involved in the Air Coordination Group. The training took place at three different locations: Dyracuse Recreational Park located in Adams County; Devils Lake and the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area in Sauk County. 

The Air Coordination Group involves the following agencys: Wisconsin Air National Guard, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Civil Air Patro, Wisconsin Drone Network and Flight for Life. Supporting agencies include Wisconsin Emergency Management, Trail Ambassadors and other administrative offices within WEM.

The Trail Ambassadors staged at the Dyracuse Recreational Park with RL4WD's, ATV's, and UTV's. Departments on-site were Wisconsin DNR Conservation Wardens, Town of Rome Fire and Police departments, WI Civil Air Patrol 

The days objective had two sets of recovery missions, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. The goal was to rotate air and ground crews to find and recover missing persons in a range of different scenarios. Teams were on site early to set up basecamp, set up recovery dummies, coordinate living recovery volunteers, perform ground crew briefings, and distribute radios for and radio command to coordinate between the airplanes, drones, helicopters, and ground crews. 

The morning session began around 7:30 am with ground crew set up and staging. There were three recovery missions; one was cut short by incoming weather. The afternoon session began after a brief lunch where another three recoveries were set up and successfully run. We then did a debrief where all the agencies came together. Overall, this training day went better than the 2018 session. 2019 saw far better communication with the ground crews. 2019 Objectives were able to be completed in a timely fashion. 

Our Trail Ambassadors were to wait for aircrews to spot and guide us to the location. This practice day was a drill to emulate recoveries over vastly more substantial portions of land and air. It was vital practice to layer three types of air service AND multiple ground crews to obtain an objective or set of goals. 

The result of the training was fantastic. It was great to see all the teams working as one cohesive unit to complete the recoveries. We look forward to doing more practice of this type, so if and when someone needs aid, we, as Trail Ambassadors, will be ready to help as part of the team. 

Being we're still getting the word out on who we are as RL4WD, and I did set up our flags. Darwin and I handed out several flyers and cards, and we answered a lot of questions on how our Jeeps fit into the mix. I was able to demonstrate how my rig was able to climb fallen trees and other debris that the ATV's and UTV's couldn't tackle. I was happy to let law enforcement and Wardens see this first-hand so they can see how RL4WD's can be a precious asset to a local community. Maybe some of these agencies will eventually end up with awesome lifted rigs of their own! 

Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) coordinates practical disaster response and recovery efforts in support of local governments. Wisconsin Emergency Management is a division within the Department of Military Affairs (DMA). Through planning, training, and exercising, we prepare ourselves, our citizens, and response personnel to minimize the loss of lives and property.
Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) is the lead state agency charged with coordinating the state's planning, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts for natural and man-caused disasters.

WEM operates a 24-hour emergency hotline to answer calls reporting hazardous materials spills. WEM also requests for state assistance in search and rescue missions, severe weather events, public health problems, along with other threats to public safety.

WEM operates under the authority of Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 323

 https://dma.wi.gov/DMA/wem

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This sounded like such an amazing educational experience and tempted me to sign up as a trail ambassador.

Michele Salamun
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