Exercise “Lights Out” tested Halton’s emergency response

Halton Region works together year round with our emergency preparedness partners – the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, the Town of Oakville and the Halton Regional Police Service – to plan for and ensure a coordinated response to emergencies.

On October 4, I joined Halton Region and City of Burlington staff as well as Emergency Services participants in exercise “Lights Out,” conducted as part of Halton Region’s Emergency Management Program.

As the name suggests, participants in the exercise responded to a large, area-wide power blackout that lasted several days and resulted from an “ice storm” that occurred around Family Day 2013. “Lights Out” focused on the response and recovery aspects of the power blackout in which Burlington and the Region activated their Emergency Operations Centres.

In the Emergency Operations Centres we were briefed on the situation and asked to respond to the scenario as we would during a real event, using our Emergency Response Plan and resources that would normally be required in a real situation, including radio communication. A debriefing session took place immediately following the exercise where our performance was evaluated.

Exercise “Lights Out” provided a terrific opportunity for us to test and practice during a realistic scenario that everyone should be prepared for.  Through this practice we learned valuable lessons that will allow us to be even better prepared in the case of a real emergency.

For more information on Halton’s Emergency Management Program and to download or order Halton’s Personal Emergency Preparedness Guide, visit www.halton.ca/beprepared or dial 311 or 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866 or TTY 905-827-9833. Follow @BPreparedHalton on Twitter for incident updates and preparedness tips.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”