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A mobile emergency communications platform from Wisconsin Emergency Management stands ready to test its interoperability with other state, federal and military agencies during the 2018 Statewide Interoperable Mobile Communications (SIMCOM) exercise held in Dane County in February 2018. SIMCOM 2019 will take place at several locations in the City of Waukesha May 1-3. Wisconsin National Guard photo by Sgt. Katie Eggers

The annual Statewide Interoperable Mobile Communications Exercise, or SIMCOM, kicks off in Waukesha County May 1.

The three-day exercise runs May 1-3 in multiple locations in the City of Waukesha, and it represents an annual opportunity to educate, coordinate and test mobile emergency communications platforms from federal, state, local, tribal and National Guard entities in a simulated emergency response scenario. The emergency operations center in Grant County will also be operational May 2.

Local residents should not be alarmed by an increased law enforcement or military presence in the area during the exercise. They can expect to see multiple aircraft from military and law enforcement agencies to include fixed-wing aircraft, rotary-wing aircraft and non-military unmanned aerial vehicles operating in the area as well as mobile radio repeaters and other communications platforms or equipment. To ensure safe flight operations, the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs respectfully requests that the public refrain from operating their own unmanned aerial systems in the city of Waukesha May 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Conducting exercises like SIMCOM in a training environment helps our state prepare for a real-world emergency,” Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, said. “Ensuring reliable, consistent communications interoperability between state, federal, municipal agencies and our first responders is a critical component of ensuring an effective response for the people of Wisconsin.”

This year’s edition of SIMCOM, now in its 12th year, focuses on simulating strenuous testing of voice and data communication during field operations. Last year’s SIMCOM exercise took place in Dane County in February.

SIMCOM — facilitated by Waukesha County Emergency Management in conjunction with Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin National Guard — is one of the premiere communications exercises in the Midwest, as evidenced by a growing number of out-of-state participants from year-to-year.