Friday, August 2, 2013

Emergency Planning

Lac-Mégantic, Québec rail disaster
In light of the widespread flooding in southern Alberta and the railway disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Québec, some of you are wondering if our village has an emergency plan. As a matter fact, we do.

It was created a few years ago, by a group of village officials and interested community members through a series of workshops held at the Beiseker Community Centre.  We were presented with different hypothetical scenarios, and we had to plan a course of action.  These "tabletop exercises" focused on keeping the people of Beiseker as safe as possible.

We reviewed scenarios involving blizzards, flash floods, railway problems, and highway accidents.

Copies of the plan we created were given to the fire department and to the village office.  We ran a couple of mock disasters to make sure our plan did work.

As part of the emergency plan, we stocked emergency supplies and provided an alternate power source for the Community Centre.  We made arrangements with local businesses to access their establishments after hours for emergency supplies if required, as well.  And finally, a mutual aid agreement was created between Beiseker and Irricana so that if one municipality needed to evacuate, the other community would accommodate them.

All of this took place more than five years ago.  Much has changed in Beiseker since then.  I personally believe that it's time we took this plan down from the shelf, read it over, and revise it to reflect what's happening today.

Would our existing plan work?  Yes it would, but it could work much more smoothly if it were brought up to date!

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