Statewide 'Dark Sky' disaster training continues in Omro

Residents in Omro were greeted by Army National Guard soldiers as part of the statewide 'Dark Sky' disaster exercise, May 16, 2018.

OMRO (WLUK) -- Residents in Omro got an unexpected knock at their door Wednesday.

More than a 100 Army National Guard soldiers, took to the area, searching for what would be 'victims' of a mass power outage.

It's a part of the state's three-day training exercise "Operation Dark Sky."

"The simulating that we're doing is health and welfare checks on a Wisconsin community, in the aftermath of an emergency," explained Capt. Joe Trovato.

He says during the exercise people were asked to participate in a brief emergency preparedness survey.

They also reassured residents, this time there is no cause for alarm. But Trovato says this type of training for soldiers can quickly become real.

Such was the case, he says when crews were called out last summer for flooding in Burlington.

"Last July we have National Guard soldiers on the ground assisting local law enforcement," Trovato said. "We were going door to door doing welfare and health checks."

As a part of the exercise, the American Red Cross has used it as an opportunity to ensure each resident has a working smoke alarm.

"The National Guard has been great with teaming up with us," said Justin Kern, Communications Director for the Wisconsin American Red Cross.

"In that, they have added that when they're knocking, asking about smoke alarms," He said. "After that we'll dispatched some of our volunteers, who are trained, to put up a smoke alarm or replace the batteries."

With their boots on the ground, Trovato says it wouldn't be possible without the support of the Omro community.

"Omro's been so great in terms of the relationship we built with them," he continued. "They have been extremely hospitable."

Operation Dark Sky exercises are scheduled to end tomorrow.


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