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Illinois first responders prepare for what severe weather spring could bring

Ameren demonstrates how to use emergency equipment including bucket trucks for police, fire and emergency personnel.

MARYVILLE, Ill. — Under Wednesday's sunny skies, Illinois first responders met with Ameren staff to discuss their plan for the next time storms hit. 

The event was like a bring your kid to work day, but instead of kids ... it was police, fire and emergency management personnel who filled the Ameren Illinois storeroom and truck yard. 

Maryville Police Chief Rob Carpenter told 5 On Your Side what he gleaned from meeting with Ameren, "When there is an emergency, we know what the timeline may be to get a response from Ameren and just getting a general idea of what they can do to help us, which is actually a lot."  

Maryville's Fire Chief George May had a similar takeaway, "Knowing the available resources and knowing we have a safe operating environment to come in to and know what the limitations for police, fire and Ameren to know how to keep our citizens and our community safe."

During the open house, Chiefs Carpenter and May met Scott Szostak, who manages the emergency supply trailers Ameren sends to storm zones.  

"Crews refer to the storm trailer as their lifeline," Szostak told 5 On Your Side, "Knowing that we can mobilize this close to them, this is their absolute lifeline to get people back in power."

First responders were also given a chance to ride up high in a bucket truck.

Ameren Illinois spokesperson Brian Bretsch said bucket trucks are used for both fair weather and stormy days, "High winds, tornado, when we need to set new poles, new powerlines, put new technology on those lines, bucket trucks are used on blue sky days and on the aftermath of a storm all too keep the power flowing to our customers."

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