In the arena of emergency management, the watchword is “preparedness.” Are we prepared in case of a tornado hitting a small town, a terror attack at a local school, a out of control wildfire, the crash of a tanker truck carrying hazardous waste? Do we have the resources and volunteers necessary to support police, fire and other rescuers?
On Saturday (Nov. 5, 2016), Kane County Office of Emergency Management answered one more question: Are we prepared for a full-scale search and rescue?
For the 150 people and 18 agencies that took part in the OEM’s regional search and rescue training exercise, the answer is, “Yes.”
Saturday’s scenario involved a family — including grandparents and grandchildren — camping at in the Burnidge Forest Preserve and Paul Wolff Campground on Big Timber Road west of Elgin. When the grandfather and kids go fishing early Saturday morning and fail to return to the campsite, a search is initiated.
OEM Director Don Bryant said a critical component of search and rescue is communications between people on the ground and in the air.
“This exercise provided an excellent training opportunity for search teams to come together to practice search and rescue operations on a regional level,” he said. “Search management was able to practice establishing communications between the command post and search teams and coordination between the command post and the Civil Air Patrol air-wing.”
Agencies participating in the exercise included the Kane County Forest Preserve Police and mounted rangers and more than 150 people representing 18 search and rescue teams from all over northeastern Illinois, including ground teams, horse-mounted searchers and all-terrain vehicles. The Civil Air Patrol, which is the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, also participated in the exercise with a ground team, communications assets and an air plane. The Salvation Army provided a canteen to keep all the searchers hydrated and fed.
“Almost all of the people involved in the search are volunteers and give of their own time in order to serve the citizens during times of emergency,” Bryant said.
The Kane County Office of Emergency Management is always looking for new volunteers. If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities please visit the agency website at www.kcoem.org or call 630-232-5985.
About the Kane County Office of Emergency Management
The Kane County Office of Emergency Management supports a regional all-hazard approach to disaster management and Homeland Security through the coordination of programs that promote community planning, increase public awareness, and develop effective mitigation, response and recovery strategie. For more information, visit the OEM web page and the Kane County Office of Emergency Management Facebook page.