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'Dark Sky' exercise to simulate massive long-term power outage in Wisconsin

More than 1,000 people expected to participate

MADISON, Wis. - On May 15-17, about 1,000 state and local officials will participate in Dark Sky, a full-scale training exercise simulating a long-term mass power outage in Wisconsin.

"For most of us, not having power for a few hours or a day would be inconvenient. But when we're talking days or possibly weeks or longer, that's definitely a state of emergency," said Lori Getter, crisis communications manager for Wisconsin Emergency Management.

The goal is to increase understanding of the procedures that would be in place if Wisconsin were to experience cyber or physical threats to power grids around the state.

"Hopefully, that bad day never happens, but in Wisconsin, we never know," Getter said. "We do have severe weather. We do have other accident,s as we experienced last week in Superior."

Getter said power will not go out in homes during the training so people should not panic.

But, she said, Wisconsin families should have a plan in place in case, one day, a natural disaster strikes and their power goes out.

Getter also encouraged people to have emergency kits in their homes and cars, complete with enough food and water to last at least 72 hours.

Ready Wisconsin recommends other items for those kits, including sleeping bags, blankets, flashlights and batteries.

Madison Gas and Electric is also participating in the training exercise, with about 100 employees taking part in some form. But corporate communications manager Steve Schultz said the agency is always preparing for power outages.

"It's something we wish we never had to deal with but with storms, weather can cause outages (and) equipment failure" Schultz said.


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