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May 17th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 20
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CNP Emergency Preparedness Event
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
Various members of the Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services were on hand to answer questions about being prepared for natural disasters at the Emergency Preparedness event at the Blairmore Fire Hall on May 10.
Pictured above, left to right: Jesse Fox, Fire Chief; Shane Hopkins, Firefighter; Erin Cnossen, Firefighter; Mark Cnossen, Firefighter; Lorne Gault, Lieutenant; Brendan Busato, Firefighter.
ANNA KROUPINA
Pass Herald Reporter
Are you prepared for a prolonged power outage, flood, forest fire or other natural disaster?

Most people in Crowsnest Pass are not, says Meagan Muff, an EMT with Emergency Medical Services.

In celebration of Emergency Preparedness Week (EP Week), the municipality planned several informative sessions to educate both themselves and the public on being prepared for unexpected disasters.
EP Week is an annual national event that takes place the first full week of May, this year being from May 7 to May 13.

The national theme this year, according to the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, is, “Plan. Prepare. Be aware,” meant to help Canadians protect themselves and their families during emergencies in a proactive, preemptive way.

72-hour emergency kit

Fire/Protective Services in conjunction with Emergency Medical Services set up a spot outside the Blairmore Fire Hall with resources and information to prepare yourself, your family and your pets for unexpected emergencies. The community’s first responders were on hand to answer questions and offer professional input on creating an emergency plan and learning how to prepare a 72-hour emergency kit for your home.
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“The purpose of the event today is to help educate the public about being prepared for emergencies and disasters that may happen. That preparedness and prevention could be life-saving when it comes time to emergency that happens, just by having certain small little tools and products available,” says Fire Chief/Manager of Protective Services Jesse Fox.

Handouts advising how to prepare and what to put into a 72-hour emergency kit were available.

“It’s good to be prepared and I think that a lot of people don’t realize that until they’re in the situation. It’s things that you would use on a daily basis that you don’t think of that you need,” says Muff.

The list recommends preparing enough water and non-perishable food to last three days, utensils like a can opener, a flashlight with extra batteries, a crank or battery powered-radio, and some less obvious items, like cash in smaller bills, duct tape and water purifying tablets.

Resources specific to people with disabilities and family pets were also available, as well as material with information on how to comfortable finance an emergency kit.

“Rather than just be solely reliant on emergency services to help them, it’s a chance for them to stand on their own feet, at least for a little bit,” says Fox.

In the past, Crowsnest Pass has experienced a variety of emergency situations like prolonged power outages, landslides, floods, fires and, most recently, prolonged snow storms.
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Mock emergency situation: Blairmore flood

Members of the municipality engaged in a tabletop exercise administered by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency to practice and polish the emergency management plan and procedure.

Garry Dzioba and Bill Seymour, field officers with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, South Region, devised a mock scenario and were on hand to teach the team and guide them through the situation.

Key members of the municipality and community institutions were present, from Fire and Protective Services, public works staff, members of administration, to Mayor Blair Painter representing Council, and Alberta Health Services.

“It’s about getting people familiar with what their roles are. Everybody in this room has different jobs in the day to day, but what they do in this role is very important. They may only get a chance to look at this every year, so it’s about the familiarity of their roles and making sure that our emergency management plan is up to date,” says Fox.

The tabletop exercise involved a mock scenario where a portion Blairmore was caused to evacuate as a result of backed up floodwaters. The team was required to consider things like an evacuation plan, financial needs arising out of the situation and communicating with media.

“The whole goal is to get ahead of the disaster, to make sure that we’ve done all that we can do ahead of it so that when it does come, we’re ready for it. This is a good opportunity to right now to iron out any of the kinks that we have in a non-emergency situation,” says Fox.

“This community has taken the training seriously. They get a thorough understanding of how to handle, deal with and coordinate an incident,” says Dzioba.
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May 17th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 20
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