RHINELANDER - Natural disasters don't happen often in the Northwoods.
But Oneida County Emergency Management needs to make sure their fire departments know what to do if it does.
Oneida County Airport wasn't just for planes this weekend.
Fire departments and more than 40 firefighters trained for a natural disaster Saturday morning.
They practice every other month, but nothing like this.
"This is the first time we actually incorporated MABAS, our Mutual Aid Box Alarm System into a water shuttle drill." said Oneida County Emergency Management director, Ken Kortenhof.
MABAS is a system that Wisconsin adopted in 2006.
"Basically what that does, we pre-plan them ahead of time and they don't have to worry about deciding at the time which units to call and where they're coming from," Kortenhof said.
"It's a good system and it works well with the fire service."
Five different stations set up on the airports runway.
First stop was checking in.
The second station was incident command post.
"Right now they're directing the different tanker trucks and different tender trucks where to go and how to shuttle water." said Kortenhof.
After that it's off to the lake to fill the tankers.
Each truck can hold about one thousand gallons of water.
Then they have to find a place to put the extra water.
"When we're at a fire or something, we have what's called drop tanks. The tenders come in and they fill those drop tanks up and then those drop tanks feed the engines. The engines spray on to the fire." Kortenhof said.
Firefighters say the training helps departments communicate better.
"We have a number of different departments that specifically don't work together," Kortenhof said.
"The MABAS system and exercises like this give them the ability to work together and to practice what they're doing. So in the event they have to in real life, it goes a lot smoother."
A smoother response could save lives during a disaster.
MERRILL - A Northwoods school pulled off a big surprise on Friday to honor a few veterans. After months of planning, students and staff at Kate Goodrich Elementary got to see the payoff of all their hard work.
"It was like kind of overwhelming," said Wolfgang Lenk.
Lenk, Todd Annis, and Randy Perry had no idea they would be the guests of honor.
"To see all these kids and knowing how hard they worked selling all this, and now your name comes up that you're one of the three recipients, it was awesome," said Annis.
RHINELANDER - A scoop of frozen custard goes down pretty well on a humid day like the Northwoods saw Friday. Rhinelander's Associated Bank made grabbing a scoop an easy way to help others.
Culver's set up a mobile custard stand outside the new bank building on the corner of Lincoln Street and Oneida Avenue from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Fifty cents from every $2.50 cup sold went to Associated Bank's Children's Miracle Network fund.
The bank is hoping to raise $500 through its fundraisers for CMN this month.
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