About 15 people from area municipalities took the first step toward being prepared for emergencies, during a training session held in Wadena last week.
Trainers Jason Scriver and Sean Miller from the province’s Emergency Management and Fire Safety ministry provided a wealth of knowledge and, to drive home the concepts, shared experiences from emergencies that have occurred in the province and elsewhere.
The course comprised several modules covering the basics of emergency management, including mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery as well as what the provincial Emergency Planning Act is, its components and application when a municipality declares an emergency, and the nine steps to emergency plan development.
Representatives attended from Indian Head, Kelvington, Rose Valley and Wadena, plus the rural municipalities of Invermay, Lakeview, Ponass Lake and Buchanan.
Several group exercises included in the one-and-a-half-day training tasked participants to provide plans of action, given limited resources, for disaster scenarios like flooding, a twister and a plane crash. However, the real learning came from those in the room who had already been involved in events such as house fires, flooding, power outages or plow winds hitting their municipalities and, of course, the train derailment that occurred in Clair last October.
Miller and Scriver gave examples from their own experiences, both personal and professional, of responding to fires, floods and forest fires, including mass evacuations. The material also provided a video on how the province of Newfoundland handled the unexpected arrival of more than 6000 passengers during 9-11, an emergency situation that lasted for six days.
Although the course is not mandated for municipalities, it is a prerequisite for those looking to get involved in an emergency management organization in their own communities. The next course will be held in Wadena at the end of March; however, the Basic Emergency Management course and one online course are required in order to participate in further training.
Those interested can contact the Emergency Management and Fire Safety Branch of the Ministry of Government Relations for scheduled Basic Emergency Management courses being held around the province.
The entire course was beneficial to ensure that those involved in emergency planning at their local and regional levels are all on the same page, which is invaluable in the face of something unexpected.
By Alison Squires