City preps for emergency Response Plan exercise
on sept. 26, the city of elliot lake will unfold a mock scenario exercise to test its emergency response.
daniel Gagnon, the city’s Cao, unveiled the news during monday’s council meeting.
Gagnon explained that the city maintains a community emergency response plan to ensure preparation in case of large scales emergencies that might require coordination efforts between the municipality and other parties such as ems and the opp.
such plans are mandated by the province’s emergency management and Civil protection act, which also requires municipalities to have a program committee, designate a community emergency management coordinator (Cemc), and conduct annual training and an annual exercise to put the plan to work.
in elliot lake, the Cemc is the administrative assistant to the fire chief, and the program committee has representatives from denison environmental services and bhp/rio algom.
The committee is chaired by Gagnon and “includes key municipal staff and the community partners needed to respond to the emergency.”
each year the scale and scope of the training varies, but there are minimum standards set by the province to guide the training exercises.
Typically, there are two types of exercises, a tabletop exercise and a field or full exercise. The former sees the community control group assemble and conduct planning and response to a mock emergency in a meeting setting.
The field exercise is much more in-depth (and costly) and deploys actual resources in real time to test the availability of equipment, staff and other assets required for an emergency.
Gagnon explained that rio algom expressed to the city its desire to test it emergency response planning related to the decommissioned mine sites in the municipality, including their field resources, as well as internal and external emergency response support.
over the past few months rio algom has included elliot lake in these plans, including a community workshop and tabletop exercise held in may of 2018, and have planned a “hybrid field and tabletop” exercise for sept. 26.
rio algom has hired a consultant experienced in community emergency management in the region to assist with the design and scope of the exercise.
To “maintain the integrity of the exercise, the scope and nature of the emergency is being withheld” from both rio algom and the city, Gagnon said.
however, “the scale of the visible field work will not be invasive of overly alarming” to residents, Gagnon assured council.
The field response portion of the test will mostly be from rio algom and denison environmental employees.
There might be the need to “close” a road “but that closure will only be in force” for the above-mentioned employees and will not impede traffic flow for the public.
Gagnon also reminded residents that this is a necessary test with little to no adverse effect on the public’s daily routines. he also wants everyone to know “the activity is only an exercise and to be patient and helpful by not impeding the process.”
With files from the City of elliot lake