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Coast Guard trains U.P. agencies to respond to emergency situations

The Alger County Sheriff’s Department, Munising Fire Department, DNR, and other entities participated in the training exercises.
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT
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MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) - This week, the Coast Guard hosted two days of training exercises at the Munising Fire Hall. Agencies from across the Upper Peninsula learned how to respond to emergency situations on the Great Lakes, such as an active shooter.

“When you’re in a small community like this, you’re used to doing it all by yourself,” said Jim Rodgers, chaplain for the Alger County Sheriff’s Department. “You forget about all the resources that area available when these things happen. We’re learning how to operate with the Coast Guard, the state police, the DNR, the parks service, EMS, and local hospitals.”

While Rodgers is usually the sheriff’s department chaplain, he acted as a media liaison for this week’s exercises. Each participant was assigned a role they may have to step into if an emergency scenario happens in real life. Roles included logistics, operations, public information, finances, and more.

“It really helps figure out where and how best to utilize each of those expertise,” said Commander Anthony Jones of the Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie. “Then we can find out where those holes might be in our plan and work to make sure that in an actual event, we have all those worked out.”

Alger County Sheriff Todd Brock says his primary takeaway from the training is that his department is not alone.

“It takes a team to accomplish great things,” he said. “We have a lot of resources in our area in the U.P. that we can call on in the event of any emergency in any county. We can get through tough times when we work as a team and support one another.”

Rodgers says the skills practiced in the training exercises could make all the difference in an emergency.

“So that we don’t make a mistake in the real world, we make the mistakes in the exercise and learn from them,” Rodgers said.

An FBI liaison also attended the training to work with local law enforcement.

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