CAP participates in statewide communication exercise hosted by Wisconsin Emergency Management

Photo by 1st Lt. Dan Turkal - The Wisconsin Wing Mobile Command Center (MCC), nicknamed “Orca” on display at the 2012 SIMCOM sponsored by Wisconsin Emergency Management.

Jefferson, Wis. – The Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) hosted the emergency services communications exercise called SIMCOM on Thursday in which several Civil Air Patrol officers participated in.  SIMCOM is a training exercise allowing emergency management agencies from around southeast Wisconsin to bring their communications platforms to one location and train together.

The objectives of the event are to learn what capabilities each platform has, discover the limitations to communications interoperability and to establish new relationships between agencies.  It also gives platform managers a chance to see what innovations others have made in the construction of their mobile command centers.

“Communications are critical during a disaster” stated Tod Pritchard, preparedness coordinator for WEM, in a recent news release.

“Getting information and data to the right people at the right time can save lives. That’s why Wisconsin Emergency Management, Jefferson County Emergency Management and the Wisconsin National Guard – Joint Operations Center are hosting a multi-agency communications exercise.”

Lieutenant Colonels Bill Carlson, Wisconsin Wing communications director; Jerry Krueger, Timmerman Composite Squadron operation officer; Daniel Ritchie, Wisconsin Wing logistics director and Chris Trossen, Wisconsin Wing emergency services director; as well as 1st Lieutenant Dan Turkal, Timmerman Composite Squadron communications officer, presented the Wisconsin Wing Mobile Command Center, nicknamed “Orca” at the operation.  Custom designed and built with grant monies, it is designed to give full mission base capabilities in a rapidly deployable, extended stay package.

The platform can provide satellite internet, phone, computer network and radio communication capabilities while still providing room for a full mission staff to work comfortably.  The mobile command center was deployed during the Hurricane Katrina relief effort and has been used in missions all across Wisconsin.

Agency representatives were impressed with its capabilities and longed for its creature comforts like the couch and beds found in the Winnebago interior.  Likewise, the CAP representatives were also struck by the innovations of other agencies including bolt-to-vehicle antenna masts, evacuation planning software for HAZMAT teams and remote video monitoring systems.

The event was considered a success by Lt. Col. Krueger. “This is probably the smoothest, well run SIMCOM we’ve been to,” he said.

About 1st Lt. Dan Turkal

Communications & Emergency Services Officer