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Milwaukee man offers perspective on responding to attacks

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A former Milwaukee fire captain is among those who work with the Department of Homeland Security to figure out the best ways to respond to a terrorist attack.

Anthony Wichman trains first responders on how to handle incidents like the Boston bombings. He says Monday's attack will change the way emergency personnel think. But he adds, in order to avoid future attacks, everyone needs to change.

"When we look at explosives, IED devices, the number one thing we look at is this: once you identify a potential threat, do not touch it," said Wichman.

Next, responders are trained to turn off their cell phones and radios.

"Because those, sometimes the electronic frequency can set off the device. The third thing we do is back away. Clear the building, clear the area," said Wichman.

Wichman says this training is applicable to everyone. When it comes to IED attacks, the first line of defense is our eyes.

"Is there something out of the ordinary? Did you physically see someone drop or deposit something and walk away? I'm talking about a backpack, a computer bag, something that normally has $100, $200 valued item in it. People just don't leave them laying around," said Wichman.

Wichman will be in Newark, New Jersey on Sunday for a conference about keeping firefighters safe in dangerous situations. There's no doubt in his mind that what happened in Boston will dominate the discussion.