Today I had the opportunity to take part in an exercise at the Region of Halton. A number of elected officials were invited to take part in an emergency management overview and test our skills on how to handle a real emergency.
Of course the emergency wasn’t real, but our reactions and skills were put to the test during a staged emergency event.
This was all in real time starting from the announcement of the event and laid out what the different departments would do, how it would handle the situations, demands, and communications to the public. Needless to say we were overwhelmed and thank heavens it wasn’t real as there might have been zombies running around in Oakville and Burlington (Councillor Jeff Knoll would get that the most )
From the beginning, our communication skills were put to the test. Having to contact and communicate with so many departments, detailing information we’ve received and passing it along. Of course things were missed by the elected folk, but in a real emergency, that couldn’t happen. In a real emergency, if details are missed as to possible injuries or fatalities could result in chaos and even worse more lives could be lost.
In the end we were all given a passing grade (and really would they fail US?) but many of us now understand the massive undertaking involved in getting so many departments of the region, local officials, emergency services and communications to the public up and running. I have a new appreciation for the roles these individuals play and I am very thankful we have some very competent people handling things in the emergency management team. Things have to be done with lightening speed with little or no room for error and I can honestly say that I feel much safer knowing how prepared this team is for any emergency it might face.
Thank you to the organizers of todays event as it was eye opening and humbling to say the least.
If you would like to know more about the Region of Halton’s Emergency Preparedness Campaign you can go to www.halton.ca/beprepared for info. Its a good place for tips on how to prepare you and your family in case of an emergency. There are some valuable tools and kits you can order to make sure you and your family can survive any emergency.
If youre on Twitter you can follow them www.twitter.com/bpreparedhalton for updates on information, events and tips on emergency preparedness.
Until then, I’ll see you at the doors.