ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Several fire departments were among the officials that responded to Sunday's shooting in Oak Creek.
They were summoned using a statewide mutual aid system known as MABAS – or "Mutual Aid Box Alarm System."
The system has been implemented in several areas around Wisconsin – including La Crosse County.
It's based on a series of pre-completed cards.
They're given to dispatchers and detail what, if any, assistance local fire departments would need from neighboring officials in the event of various emergency scenarios.
Onalaska Fire Chief Don Dominick said that process saves time – which can be instrumental when responding to what he calls "mass casualty incidents" such as the shooting at Oak Creek.
"Situations like that, that's when the seconds count," Dominick said. "For example, if we take a look at someone with cardiac arrest, after four, five or six minutes that person will have some irreversible brain damage."
"So if that's the case, if people are wounded and it's a trauma type situation, we need to immediately be able to assess how serious are the wounds? Are they bleeding internally?" the Chief added. "So that's when the seconds count. They can save a life."
Dominick said MABAS units around Wisconsin, including the departments enrolled in our area's agreement, drill regularly to prepare for possible emergencies.
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