City preps for emer­gency Re­sponse Plan ex­er­cise

The Standard (Elliot Lake) - - NEWS - By DAVID BRIGGS, For The Stan­dard

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

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