City of Cambridge, Township of North Dumfries and Region of Waterloo work toward creating a disaster-resilient community with mock exercise
Cambridge - The City of Cambridge, Township of North Dumfries and Region of Waterloo successfully completed a mock emergency exercise this morning designed to assess their plans, policies and procedures for responding to an emergency.
“It’s absolutely essential for us to routinely review and assess our emergency management procedures,” said Neil Main, fire chief for the City of Cambridge. “The scale and scope of this exercise gave all involved the opportunity to identify what works, as well as the areas that need improvement.”
Participants o f the exercise effectively executed a simulated train derailment scenario that included fire containment, identification and containment of a hazardous material, and injury management.
Involving more than 300 people, the exercise included a main emergency site, emergency operations centres, and a mock evacuation centre. While staff at the derailment site focused on establishing a unified command and creating a consolidated action plan, staff at the evacuation centre looked at assessing their Social Services Emergency Response Plan (SSERP).
“At the evacuation centre, we wanted to assess our management of health-related issues,” explained Rob Horne, commissioner, planning, development and legislative services for the Region of Waterloo. “When an emergency happens that includes injuries or adverse health effects, we need to ensure that our response is timely and efficient.”
The emergency management partners and stakeholders within Waterloo Region are committed to developing opportunities to improve their collective emergency response capabilities. While a great deal of independent work is carried out by each organization, there is a need to evaluate the collective and coordinated response to a significant large-scale event.
“Emergency response doesn’t take place in isolation,” said North Dumfries fire chief, Robert Shantz. “By practicing jointly with all these agencies, we can better prepare for the safe and efficient management of emergencies.”
“Multi-jurisdictional exercises, such as the one led today, are a crucial part of emergency management preparedness,” said Gary Dyke, city manager, City of Cambridge. “Ensuring staff are adequately trained to response quickly in emergency situations allows us to work toward creating a disaster-resilient community.”
This exercise was coordinated and executed by the City of Cambridge, the Township of North Dumfries, the Region of Waterloo, the Cambridge Fire Department, the North Dumfries Fire Department, the Waterloo Region Paramedic Services, the Waterloo Region Police Services, Conestoga College, the Salvation Army, the Canadian Red Cross, Primemax Energy, and Canadian Pacific Railway.