Most people wouldn’t volunteer to be placed in dangerous situations, but for Jenna Fremstad it brings about a sense of comfort.
A hall director at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), she volunteered to be a hostage in the two-day UWSP emergency training exercise involving 27 agencies at the campus Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4.
“I hope we would never hit this level, but the more times you go through it the better prepared you are,” she said.
Fremstad was one of nearly 20 volunteers participating in one of two (or both) emergency situations. The first simulated an active shooter who had taken hostages on the fourth floor of Burroughs Hall dormitory and the second was a simulated chemical release at DeBot Center. Both were designed to bring local, area, state and federal law enforcement and emergency agencies together to see how they work with each other in the event there ever is a large-scale emergency disaster.
“All-in-all, it went very well,” said Corinna Neeb, emergency management specialist at UWSP.
“We hope that our regular exercises are the only time we need to all work together but in the event of a real emergency, we are confident in our response abilities because of the planning, training and exercising we’ve done in advance,” she said.
Along with UWSP, last week’s simulation included representatives from Portage County Sheriff’s Department, Emergency Management, Coroner, Emergency Medical Services and Health and Human Services; Stevens Point and Plover Police and Fire departments; state Patrol North Central Region, Emergency Management and Interagency Complex Incident Management Team; and the U.S. Army Reserve 388th Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Co.
Local law enforcement officials said such training, which occurs every few years, is beneficial each time because each scenario is different and specific aspects of departments might be utilized. In this training, Stevens Point Police Department SWAT team was among key participants, for example.