Superior Fire Department Train to Test Mutual Aid from Other Emergency Response Teams

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The Superior Fire Department battles flames on a regular basis, but what happens when help is needed from other agencies?

A fire drill tested the response of Twin Ports first responders working together.

Last winter, a fire erupted here at Superior Midwest Energy.

This training exercise is meant to replicate incident in hopes of improving the response.

A mock 911 call was sent out for a fire taking over part of the Midwest Energy plant.

Within minutes Superior fire arrived on the scene and found out crews could not put out the fire from land, prompting them to call for help.

The exercise was to get Superior Fire used to requesting mutual aid from other emergency response teams like the Duluth Fire Department, which now has a boat called Marine 19 that can assist with incidents from the water.

“We want to acknowledge there are fires that get out of our hands. Every tool in our toolbox so to speak we want to utilize. In the past we did not have marine 19,” said Superior Fire Battalion Chief Scott Gordon. “That fire boat is an asset to the Twin Ports.”

Marine 19 can shoot out nearly 2,000 gallons of water per minute.

That is more than any fire truck can handle.

Midwest Energy sits along the shore line of Lake Superior.

Its proximity makes accessing parts of the plant difficult which prompted the fire exercise.

“You hope those situations never happen, but in case they do it is important to exercise those options and really look at those events because they can happen. You don’t think they are going to happen but they can, ” said Midwest Energy President Jeff Papineau.

The fire drill tested how fast the agencies respond to this type of incident.

Marine 19 arrived to the mock drill within 19 minutes.

The timing met the expectations of the Superior Fire Department, but a few challenges prevented a quicker response.

Cell phone towers close by could not determine the difference between Superior and Duluth.

This mix up caused the initial call to be sent to Duluth Fire rather than Superior.

Communication between dispatchers also played a role in some of the delay.

Superior Fire department officials say there is no way to quantify a quicker time response with those unexpected challenges.

The Superior fire Department is planning to take the concept of this drill to use for future training exercises.

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