The Grant and Deuel County emergency management agencies hosted a full-scale exercise at Alice Lake on Thursday, July 21. The Milbank Fire Department sent 20 members. Squads from Big Stone, Brandt, Clear Lake, Corona, Gary, Goodwin, Marvin, Revillo, Stockholm, and Toronto also participated.
Kevin Schuelke, head of Grant County Emergency Management, said, “We chose Alice Lake because our goal was to access and flow fire suppression water from a natural resource located a significant distance from a municipal or commercial water supply.”
Schuelke says, “Eleven tankers were used. We transported 73,000 gallons between our first pumping at 7:52 p.m. and our last at 8:55 p.m. We achieved a goal of flowing from a deluge nozzle at 1000 gallons per minute using two pumpers at the fill site. We also accomplished this without having to utilize “Plan B” of additional and portable fire pumps.”
According to Schuelke, the variables involving lake water risks, strainers, and mud and sand proved not to be an issue. Their initial goal of 500 gallons per minute was easily met and surpassed.
“We moved to and maintained consistent flows of over 1000 gallons per minute for over an hour,” Schuelke reported. “This demonstrated, if needed, the flow could continue for an extended period of time. The highest flow point was over 1300 gallons per minute.”
He says the test was important in better understanding rural fire suppression capabilities in regard to wildland and structure fires and hazmat issues. “We also tried a communications “patch” for the first time. Dispatch joined channels and radio frequencies of the multiple agencies and departments. Something we had never done before.”
Schuelke says he believes the exercise was successful, not only for training purposes, but as a way to build relationships with area fire departments and agencies.