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You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

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You Are Not Alone

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  1. You Are Not Alone Tom Kontra A/ADM and Chief

  2. You Are Not Alone • Amethyst Sector is home to 34 municipalities, more than 65 First Nations and several hamlets in Unorganized Areas. • Most communities have less than 2000 people. • It is imperative that municipalities work with their neighbours, partners, co-operators and government agencies to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

  3. Emergency Management Program Development • Prior to 2002, all communities except one in the Amethyst Sector had Emergency Response Plans. • However, most plans had not been reviewed or exercised in the recent past—a common problem across Ontario. • An outdated and unfamiliar plan is a false insurance policy.

  4. Emergency Management Program Development • In 2002, EMO initiated the development of emergency management programs in municipalities. • Initially, smaller sector communities were uncertain about the resources needed to develop a program. • Today, every municipality in Ontario has a program in place and 98% are compliant with provincial legislation. • In 2010 the Amethyst Sector was 100% compliant with provincial legislation.

  5. Community Emergency Management Coordinators • The CEMC is the key link between EMO and the community. • Most CEMCs are municipal administrators or Fire Chiefs. • Familiarity with one another allowed Amethyst Sector Advisory Committee of CEMCs to be productive from the outset • CEMCs with extensive emergency management experience have been willing to share their knowledge.

  6. Sector Meetings • Key forum where CEMCs can network with peers, ministries, NGOs and the private sector. • CEMCs have presented on lessons learned from their emergencies: • Nipigon mill fire • Ignace wind storm • Fort Frances natural gas explosion • Manitouwadge power outage

  7. Partners and Cooperators at Sector Meetings • Presentations at last two meetings: • Salvation Army • Bell Canada • Thunder Bay District Health Unit • Thunder Bay Fire/Rescue • Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) • Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs • Ministry of Natural Resources • Ministry of Labour • Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing • Canadian Red Cross • Hydro One

  8. Geographic Challenges • Travel time and costs can impact attendance at meetings and training sessions. • Solution: hold sub-sector meetings and training workshops in successive days in Thunder Bay, Dryden and Fort Frances. • People can attend and return home the same day. • Semi-annual sector meetings in Thunder Bay maintain networking opportunities and draw quality presenters.

  9. Resource Sharing in Rainy River District (RRD) • 9 of 10 municipalities in Rainy River District are within 90 km of each other. • Communities have similar risk profiles due to weather, railway, Highway 11 and natural gas pipeline. • Provincial services—EMS, MNR and policing—are provided by the same offices to all communities.

  10. Resource Sharing • CEMCs have agreed to act as alternates for their neighbours if required. • Many communities list their neighbour’s Emergency Operation Centre as their alternate location during an emergency. • Allows for efficient use of human and physical resources that are often in short supply in small communities.

  11. Common Training/Exercise • Nine RRD municipalities train and exercise in a common forum annually, hosted by the Township of Emo. • Given the communities’ similar risk profiles, it is reasonable to practice for the same hazards. • Up to 75 people in attendance. • Provincial representatives only need to attend this forum, instead of 9 individual sessions, which may not be practical.

  12. Common Training/Exercise • Fort Frances CEMC attends Emo sessions and offers ongoing mentoring and assistance to other District CEMCs. • Some other sector communities train and exercise with neighbours, in groups of two or three. • In 2008, 25 of the sector communities participated in Exercise Trillium Response, a scenario based on a Region wide ice storm.

  13. Partnerships • Long time Community Awareness Emergency Response (CAER) group in Thunder Bay and area. • Comprised of members from municipalities, the province, NGOs, the private sector and educational institutions. • CAER builds networks, shares information and develops tools to address emergency response issues.

  14. Partnerships • Canadian Red Cross is a partner in this conference. • Provides training to communities and offers services during an emergency response. • Several companies and organizations have led or participated in community exercises – TransCanada PipeLines, CP Rail, Ontario Power Generation, Goldcorp Mines and MNR.

  15. Partnerships • MNR is a conference partner. • Sioux Lookout MNR holds annual spring meetings in Sioux Lookout and Pickle Lake to share and discuss the status of emergency preparations. • EMO Field Officer works with Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management to develop cross-border exercises and workshops that can benefit communities in the Amethyst Sector.

  16. Community Volunteers • Woody Linton, CEMC Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls has led the delivery of Basic Emergency Management (BEM) courses in Dryden, Emo and Kenora. • Shares his extensive background in policing and emergency management with participants. • Mo Douglas of Matawa First Nations Management has instructed on three BEM for First Nations courses and will be sponsoring others soon. The course is open to people from First Nations and municipalities.

  17. Response • Emergencies do happen in Northwestern Ontario. • In 2007, five of six emergency declarations in Ontario occurred in Amethyst Sector. • Outside assistance often required from neighbours or agencies to respond to emergencies.

  18. Community Emergencies • Mid-winter fire destroyed a plywood mill in Nipigon. • Severe cold caused problems with suppression and water availability. • Several area fire departments sent personnel and equipment to assist. • Canadian Tire Corporation donated a tractor trailer load of bottled water to the community.

  19. Community Emergencies • Ignace hit by a severe wind sheer that damaged structures and destroyed forest in the east end of town. • Dryden and Sioux Lookout offered fire department assistance. • Hydro One drew human resources and equipment from across the region. • Power completely restored in just over 24 hours. • MMAH team in community to assess damages.

  20. Community Emergencies • Sioux Lookout threatened by a large forest fire. • Risk of heavy smoke in the community due to a weather inversion. • People with respiratory vulnerabilities evacuated to Dryden facilities as a precaution.

  21. Community Emergencies • Natural gas explosion in Fort Frances. • 300 people evacuated from the area. • Gas left on for 24 hours to provide heat in winter until break could be isolated. • International Falls, Minnesota fire department on standby to assist if required.

  22. Community Emergencies • Ear Falls brushed by a tornado in summer of 2009. • Three tourists killed at a camp south of the community. • Fire department responded to the scene to offer assistance.

  23. Photo courtesy of Lon Black

  24. Photo courtesy of Kevin Everett

  25. Provincial Resources • Communities can access outside resources through EMO. • MNR provides aircraft and logistics for evacuations, and, sandbags to municipalities and First Nations during flood emergencies.

  26. Provincial Resources • Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) teams across the province. • Accessed through the Office of the Fire Marshal. • Provide personnel and equipment to help manage hazardous materials emergencies beyond the capacity of local fire department.

  27. Provincial Resources • Thunder Bay team responded to a highly toxic material tractor trailer fire that had shut down Highways 11 and 17. • Team worked with 2 local fire brigades from Unorganized Areas to suppress the fire. • Highways reopened in 12 hours.

  28. Provincial Resources • MMAH Provincial Disaster Assessment Team deploys to evaluate level of damage in emergencies caused by natural events. • Ministry of the Environment air monitoring equipment can provide air quality data in emergencies where there has been chemical release or smoke. • Ministry of Community and Social Services can assist with the housing and care of evacuees.

  29. Unorganized Areas • Account for over 90% of Northern Ontario. • No local governance to declare an emergency. • Lack of plans and resources. • May need to rely on nearby municipalities and the province to assist during an emergency.

  30. Unorganized Areas Assistance • Hamlet of Savant Lake threatened by forest fire. • Sioux Lookout offered to host evacuees. • Worked with MMAH to make arrangements. • Excellent example of communities helping to ensure the welfare of all neighbours.

  31. Host Communities • Recently, Greenstone, Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout have hosted First Nations evacuees on numerous occasions due to forest fires and floods. • Hosting requires a major community commitment of people and resources, including volunteers. • Despite the work and challenges of hosting most communities are willing to do it again.