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Press Release | Jan. 25, 2024

Coast Guard to conduct emergency response training with state, international partners

DULUTH, Minn. – The Coast Guard is partnering with nearly 100 emergency responders to participate in the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact’s Section Chief's Academy (Academy) in Duluth on Jan. 29, 2024.

Participants from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Manitoba, Canada, are attending the Academy and taking the next step to fill critical leadership roles on incident management teams.

Academy coordinators have prepared an interactive week designed to introduce and develop the next round of Incident Management Team leaders who will fill core command and general staff roles such as incident commander, public information officer, liaison officer, safety officer, operations, planning, logistics and finance section chiefs.

"The Section Chief's Academy is designed to train responders to fill leadership roles not only in emergencies like natural disasters but also in complex planned events such as the Super Bowl or a political convention,” said Taylor Schenk, one of the training coordinators at the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center. "Training to the standards of the Incident Command System allows interagency emergency responders to work together seamlessly while keeping the public safe and informed."

“The strength of our interagency partnerships is the bedrock of success when we conduct planned or emergent joint operations,” adds Cmdr. Bryan Swintek, Deputy Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Sector Northern Great Lakes. “Should the worst happen, the Coast Guard stands ready to carry the day with our local, state, tribal, and international partnerships, confident in the skills and relationships that we build during training opportunities just like this.”

The Incident Command System is a standardized approach to managing and coordinating emergency response. It is an ideal environment to bolster partnerships between local, state, tribal, federal, and military organizations. Because the Academy's focus on the Incident Command System is very relevant to the U.S. Coast Guard's mission; the Academy coordinators are pleased to welcome 11 U.S. Coast Guard students to the Academy.

Schenk explained that with the diverse mix of agency representation and the experience instructors and students bring, the Academy is an ideal networking opportunity to share real-world experiences and learn from one another.

Wildland fire and emergency response community leaders will lead the weeklong academy courses. All coursework material used during the Academy is approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).

For more information, contact Taylor Schenk, MNDNR, at (218) 322-2683, email or Lt. Joseph Snyder, USCG, at (906) 748-0539, email