Rescue Task Force Training held at NCC

Rescue Task Force Training was held on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College March 10-12, 2021 provided by the Iowa Emergency Management Association. Participants included 27 area Police, Fire, and EMS personnel from 19 different departments.

According to the United States Department of Homeland Security preparedness and conducting a unified response of State and Local Law Enforcement, Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Medical Services is one of the major initiatives of their department. Participants in the training learned the tactics, techniques and procedures, specific to a unified small group response. The course instructors were from the Government Training Institute, a private organization from South Carolina.

“This training brought together local area first responder teams like Fire and Rescue, Police, and First Responders,” said Scott Usry, Government Training Institute –Training Director. “This training is meant to bridge the gap between the area agencies. These groups don’t usually train together and it is important that they do so they are better prepared to deal with a wide range of traumatic incidents.” Usry continued, “There is what we call a “golden hour” which is the first hour after the incident occurs. The faster agencies can communicate with each other and respond to the event with the most efficient use of resources the more lives they can save.”

Anthony Michell, Government Training Institute – Lead Technical Instructor, stated, O’Brien County Emergency management has done a phenomenal job with ongoing and continuing with training in the area — especially considering the impact of COVID-19 and all the extra precautions that need to be put into place.”

Participants learned to unify as a rescue task force and conduct force protection while setting up casualty collection points as an integrated response. Neil Gross, Sheriff of Shelby County, said, “It is very important to prepare for what we could face in different response scenarios. If we train together across agencies we all know what to expect from each other in a traumatic event. Every agency has different dynamics and we can bring back what we have learned from other agencies to our respective departments and learn from it — it helps us understand what to expect from others.” Gross continued, “Training at NCC has been great. It was generous of them to open up their campus for this to take place. Not only is the training important for our teams, but it helps keep NCC safe as well. We all have now been through the buildings and understand the layout of the campus. If we ever have to respond to an event here we will have a good understanding of the campus layout. We wouldn’t be going into any situation blind.”

John Hartog, Vice President of Student and Academic Services, stated, “NCC merited an A+ in safety from, and NCC has twice been ranked as the Safest College in Iowa by We have an active safety committee with procedures in place, and we enjoy a campus culture that values emergency preparedness. At NCC, we work hard to ensure the safety of our visitors, students, and employees. More information about safety at NCC is available on our website at”

Participating agencies:

  • Estherville Police Department
  • Boone Police Department
  • Osceola County EMA
  • O‘Brien County Sheriff’s Office
  • O’Brien County EMA
  • Sheldon Community Ambulance Team
  • Sheldon Police Department
  • Pocahontas Ambulance
  • Arnolds Park Police Department
  • Arnolds Park Fire and Rescue
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Shelby County Sheriff’s Office
  • Spirit Lake First Responders
  • Burgess Health Center EMS
  • Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Independence Fire Department
  • Monona County EMA
  • Emmet County EMA
  • Tama Police Department