Ask an Official: Chief Savone discusses MFD preparation for event safety
This week’s featured question reads was submitted for Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone.
The question reads:
“When we get new or unusual events in town like the monster trucks and the demo derby, or even like the animals for show last summer, I cant help but wonder how the fire department prepares for them? I see them standing by all the time, but how do the fire fighters prepare for if something were to go wrong during these events? I can’t even begin to imagine how paramedics or fighters would begin to handle a monster truck fire or demo derby emergency!”
Answers as given by Chief Savone:
“Fire, Emergency Medical or Mass Casualty Incidents can affect public safety and special event activities. Mass Gathering Events which are sometimes referred to as low probability but high-consequence events. These events require the fire department to perform a variety of functions in protecting community health and fire safety. Over the years the Merrill Fire Department has provided standby medical and fire coverage for large gatherings such as high school sporting events, the county fair, fourth of July Fireworks, Gleason Snowmobile Race and Merrill Rodeo to name a few events.
“Each event has specialized tasks that requires preparation to fulfill reliably and efficiently of the fire department. When the Tractor Pulls came to the city we contacted the National Tractor Pullers Association (NTPA). They directed us on the safety of firefighting on the tractors. These items are included in our safety plans and all of our members train on those safety procedures prior to the event. Our firefighter/paramedics also attended the safety briefing for these types of events. With proper planning and communication among stakeholders, the MFD can provide effective coverage that can scale rapidly in case a mass casualty event occurs.
“For each of these planned events the fire department develops an Operations Plan tailored to the specific event. The fire department will reach out to the event organizer or sanctioning body, to see if they need special tactics or equipment. The other factors looked at by the fire department that can effect event safety include; Weather, Attendee Age, Drugs and Alcohol, Location, Timing, The Potential for Fire. The MFD uses the Department of Homeland Security Framework of Emergency Support Function Annexes. These Annexes are mechanisms for grouping functions most frequently used to provide support to local first responder’s organizations.”
Have a question or concern you would like to address? Simply send your question or concern to firstname.lastname@example.org along with an indication of which entity your question or concern pertains to. Current participants are the Merrill Police Department, Merrill Fire Department, Tomahawk Police Department, Lincoln County Administrative Coordinator Randy Scholz, Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson, Merrill Area Housing Authority Director Paul Russell and Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) Superintendent Dr. John Sample. Please note: Those who submit to the ‘Ask an Official’ feature remain anonymous.