Focus on Marshfield – City Emergency Planning
On Wednesday, August 24, a huge ice storm hit the City of Marshfield…in theory. The winter disaster was this year’s Emergency Planning scenario, something the City of Marshfield hosts every year to help prepare for a disaster.
In past years, scenarios have included an active shooter at the high school, a tornado, and a chemical spill. Participants in the drill include the fire and police chiefs, City Administrator, and other department leaders and staff.
“We are involving City departments, upper management, and their designees to learn how to work as a group in the event of an emergency,” added Fire Chief Robert Haight. “It helps teach leadership.”
While it was an ironic 80 degrees outside, Wednesday’s drill began with participants being given notice that a dangerous ice storm was approaching Marshfield. As the fictitious storm descended upon the city, decisions were made regarding equipment needs, personnel duties, and citizen communication. Various messages were delivered throughout the day and curveballs thrown into the events, creating the need for quick problem-solving.
Though a fictional scenario, the goal of the two-day training is to be prepared in the event that a disaster would occur. “We are trying to be proactive rather than reactive,” said Deputy Fire Chief Craig DeGrand. “If you train on it now, should the event happen, you have a base knowledge on how it’s going to work and what your responsibilities will be. We learn from that where we need to improve.”
This year’s drill took place at Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department, but past years have involved “boots on the ground” scenarios on-site at various places throughout the city. In all cases, participants had to think through various scenarios and find the best solutions for community safety.
“It puts things in the back of your mind,” said DeGrand.” You think, ‘Ok, if this happened here, how would we handle this?’”