need

Over the past 25 years, emergency responders in the state of Wisconsin have faced a number of disasters. The Weyauwega train derailment, the Barneveld, Ladysmith and Siren tornados, and most recently, the statewide flooding that occureed in June of 2008, are just a few examples. When disasters occur, dispatchers are almost always the first point of contact and typically provide essential communication for the duration of the incident. However, a disaster or critical incident can strain or even overwhelm a dispatch center, threatening the operation of vital communication links. TERT is available to augment dispatch centers in need or to provide primary communications if necessary.


History

In February of 2006, the Wisconsin chapters of the National Emergency Number Association (WI-NEN) and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (WI_APCO) partnered with the Southeast Wisconsin Communications Resource/Support Group (SEWCRSG) to initiate the development of a TERT for the state of Wisconsin. A WI-TERT steering committee was formed in March of 2006 and continues to meet on a regular basis.

Recognizing the important role the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management (WEM) plays in disaster response, the steering committee approached WEM in an effort to gain its support for the development of a TERT for Wisconsin. Successful outreach efforts led directly to the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between WI-NENA, WI-APCO, the SEWCRSG, and WEM. The MOU establishes procedures and policies to guide the use of the WI-TERT for requested assistance during disaster relief operations. The MOU was signed by all parties on March 27, 2007. Subsequently, the WI-TERT steering committee provided WEM with standard operating procedures for WI-TERT deployment.

In 2007, the steering committee identified and trained eight Region Coordinators. Regional Coordinators serve as a point of contact responsible for coordinating the deployment of a WI-TERT team within a region. They also assist the State Coordinator with managing the WI-TERT program. With trained coordinatiors in place, WI-TERT was officially capable and ready for deployment.

A WI-TERT Team Member Basic Training course curriculum was developed in 2008. The training focuses on basic deployment protocol, team building, stress management and personal preparedness. The first WI-TERT Team Memeber Basic Training class was held August 25-26, 2008 at the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy in Fort McCoy and was attended by 20 students. To support these training efforts, the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance (OJA) through a Homeland Security Grant provided WI-TERT with funding to provide four WI-TERT Team Member Basic Training classes in 2009.

The first WI-TERT deployment occured on July 6, 2009 in response to a large fire at the Patrick Cudahy Meat Packing Plan in Cudahy, WI. Overall four WI-TERT Team Members responded to the incident and were assigned to work at both the Command Post and at the Cudahy Police Department.