Keeping Halton ready to respond with exercise “Power Down”

Every year, Halton Region hosts an emergency exercise that simulates a major crisis in our community. The simulations test how we would respond and provide valuable insight to help us further improve our emergency plans.

This year’s exercise, called “Power Down”, saw a fictional power outage spread across the province during a major heat wave in late June, potentially impacting public health in Halton.

Testing Halton’s response

Once the exercise began, we activated our Emergency Response Plan and opened the Regional Emergency Operations Centre. Staff responded by following emergency response processes to coordinate resources, including:

  • opening generator-powered emergency response centres and activating the generators at our Long-Term Care homes;
  • mobilizing first responders to ensure community safety;
  • reaching out to vulnerable residents in our assisted housing units; and
  • communicating about food and water safety during the service disruption.

power-down1Exercise “Power Down” focused on decision-making processes, communications, situational awareness and action planning. After the simulation, we assessed how well our procedures and protocols preserved our essential services both during and after the emergency.

Halton’s annual exercise supports our ongoing work with local partners to minimize the risks, coordinate response efforts and reduce the impact of emergencies. I would like to thank everyone who participated, including representatives from Paramedic Services, Halton Regional Police Service, Halton Hills Fire Department, Oakville Fire Department and Oakville Hydro, as well as the emergency management staff from the Town of Oakville, City of Hamilton and Peel Region who assisted with its execution and evaluation.

Preparing your home and family

We work to prepare and protect Halton residents from emergencies, but emergency preparedness is a joint responsibility. There are three easy steps you can take to prepare:

  • Know the risks
    Familiarize yourself with the hazards or risks in your area and take any necessary precautions.
  • Make a plan
    Ensure your household knows what to do before, during and after an emergency, from evacuation to communication.
  • Get a kit
    Assemble or buy an emergency kit to stay self-sufficient in your home for 72 hours.

Staying safe and self-sufficient in an emergency allows our first responders to focus on those in immediate need, increasing the resilience of our entire community. I encourage everyone to plan today so they are protected tomorrow—to learn more, visit halton.ca/beprepared.

As always, 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, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.