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Local departments respond to salon shooting

Lake Country departments provided standby equipment and crews

Oct. 24, 2012

 Three Lake Country fire departments were called to assist Brookfield authorities in responding to the shootings at the Azana Spa on Sunday.

One paramedic ambulance from the Town of Lisbon was assigned to the incident staging area near Boston Store at Brookfield Square; another was sent to a Brookfield fire station as a standby unit.

A fire engine and crew from the Sussex Village Fire Department and a ladder truck and crew from the Pewaukee Fire Department were also sent as standbys to a Brookfield station. In addition, a Sussex equipment truck carrying assorted gear that could be used in a mass casualty incident was also sent to the Boston Store staging area.
All of the equipment was summoned by a relatively new alarm system called MABAS that links fire departments and other emergency responders throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, according to local fire chiefs.
The Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) enables emergency dispatch centers to summon and coordinate the response of multiple fire and rescue departments to a single major incident. The number of departments that respond and the equipment they bring will depend upon the location and severity of the event as described in a series of cards that define specific responses for a specific level of an incident.

Emergency dispatch centers send out end an alarm or “tone” to departments within the region advising them of an occurring MABAS event and specifying the equipment that should respond to a given incident. The dispatchers then read from the cards the specific departments and equipment that should respond to a given incident.

“It is a very detailed and regimented system,” explained Assistant Chief Mark Hoppe of the Pewaukee Fire Department. “The MABAS manual is over 200 pages. At first it seems pretty complex but once you get to know the system it can make a very complicated incident much simpler to respond to.”
Jack Edwards, chief of Lake Country Fire and Rescue, explained that before the MABAS system, a fire chief or captain at the scene of an major incident would have to take the time to remember and instruct dispatchers on what departments to call and what equipment was needed. With MABAS, those instructions are now given almost automatically, he said.? 
Edwards said that as an incident becomes more severe, more equipment is summoned.
He explained that the level of the MABAS call related to the Brookfield shooting did not require a response from Lake Country Fire and Rescue, partly because of the geographic location of the Delafield-based department.
However, he said if Brookfield had determined additional equipment was needed, LCFR might have gotten the call.
Lisbon Fire Chief Doug Brahm added that such an incident requires a large amount of equipment and personnel from several departments. He said that the department initially responding to the scene might not initially know the severity of incident and will call for as much help as available.
Surrounding community departments could be asked to provide standby crews and equipment at the responding department’s stations in order to provide protection to that community while its department is responding to the major incident.
Sussex Fire Chief Corky Curtis said the equipment truck from the village was sent to the staging area to stand by in the event it was need to supplement the equipment provided by Brookfield and other departments. The equipment provided by the truck was not needed.

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