Multi-agency full-scale mass-rescue exercise in Waiska Bay, Michigan

65 Traverse CitySAULT STE MARIE, Michigan – The Coast Guard is teaming up with members from two dozen agencies for a full-scale  in Waiska Bay in Brimley, Michigan, Saturday.

The joint exercise involves a simulated aircraft crash into Waiska Bay near Bay Mills Point, designed to test coordinated emergency response and provides the participating agencies the opportunity to evaluate the coordination between multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional response plans for mass-rescue operations in a cold weather/ice rescue environment.

The exercise is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. and should last for approximately four hours.

Rescue crews from the Bay Mills Indian Community, Bay Mills, Michigan, Volunteer Fire Department and Superior Township, Michigan, fire-rescue will serve as the primary response agencies with other area fire and law enforcement agencies participating under a mutual aid process.

A rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, will conduct simulated medical evacuations while the Michigan State Police Unmanned Aerial System and the MSP Dive Team along with several Canadian, tribal and local volunteer fire department ice rescue teams and EMS will work alongside U.S. Coast Guard teams to locate, treat and transport patients to one of two local hospitals.

Agencies expected to participate include: Bay Mills Indian Community, Bay Mills Emergency Connection, Bay Mills Township Fire-Rescue, Canadian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario Provincial Police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (OFO), Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Natural Resources,  Chippewa County Sheriff Department,Chippewa County Health Department, Chippewa County Emergency Management, Sault Ste. Marie ON (Fire/Search and Rescue/Airport), Sault Ste. Marie MI Fire, Superior Township Fire-Rescue, Whitefish Township EMS, Sault Ontario hospitals, and U.S. Coast Guard 9th District/Sector Sault Ste. Marie/Station Sault Ste. Marie/Station Alpena/Air Station Traverse City).

“Exercises like this are vital for emergency preparedness,” said Capt. Steve Teschendorf, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie commander. “It gives us the opportunity to test our response plans and ensure that our planning and training efforts integrate with our partner response agencies for an effective and efficient response to real events like this.”

Local residents should not be alarmed about the increased presence of law enforcement, fire and first response agencies the day of the exercise, but should be aware an exercise is in progress.

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