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”.

Halton is your destination for active, summer fun

Throughout the year, and especially during the summer months, I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Halton’s many vibrant communities. Whether I’m in Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton or Oakville, a common trend emerges in my conversations with Halton residents – how happy you are to live in a region that offers so many options for a healthy, active lifestyle.HaltonSummerFun

Like many of you, I recognize how vital healthy, active communities are contributing to a high quality of life. As a former professional athlete and active living enthusiast, easy and sustainable alternative transportation options for residents are always top of mind.

A great example of the work Halton is doing to keep our community healthy, active and safe is the ongoing implementation of the Active Transportation Master Plan. So far, we have built approximately 190 kilometres of on-road exclusive bikes lanes and paved shoulders along Regional roads for you to safely bike, roll or stroll to enjoy summer activities across Halton.

Plan a fun and active day in Halton this summer

Take advantage of Halton’s active transportation network and natural landscapes, which are perfect for summer activities with family and friends. Here are some ideas:

No matter what activities you are interested in, we have it here in Halton. I encourage everyone to enjoy an active lifestyle by taking advantage of the many bike lanes, multi-use paths and trails that make Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more about all that Halton has to offer or to plan a fun summer day, please visit halton.ca/tourism.

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”.

Seeking input on Halton’s Community Safety & Well-Being Plan

Halton Region, Halton Regional Police Service and the Halton Regional Police Services Board want to hear from you!

According to Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index, Halton is ranked as one of the safest regional municipalities in Canada. Halton Region and the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) are continually working with our community partners on key issues such as community safety to ensure we are doing all we can to keep Halton safe. However, there is always more that we can do to support safety and well-being in our communities.

Halton Region and the HRPS recently partnered to develop a Community Safety and Well-Being Plan (CSWB) for Halton. The goal of the plan is to strengthen collaboration amongst ourselves and our community partners to support individuals who may be vulnerable in our community and to build safe and healthy communities.

Community safety and well-being planning is about proactively responding to issues in our communities in areas like mental health, neighbourhood safety, addictions, housing and homelessness, and social isolation so that those in need of help receive the right response at the right time (before there is a crisis).

The draft Plan is now ready for review. Halton residents, service providers, community agencies, businesses and others with an interest in community safety and well-being issues are invited to attend public consultations that will take place in Halton municipalities in June and July to learn about the plan and provide their input. Those interested can also provide feedback by completing a survey at halton.ca/safetyandwell-being.

Public consultation sessions on Community Safety & Well-Being in Halton: A Plan for Collaboration and Action will be held at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, June 20, 9 to 11 a.m., Burlington Lions Club (Lions Hall),  471 Pearl Street, Burlington
  • Tuesday, June 20, 6 to 8 p.m., Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre (Black Box Theatre), 2302 Bridge Road, Oakville
  • Tuesday, June 27, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Gellert Community Centre (Kinsmen Hall B), 10241 8 Line, Georgetown
  • Wednesday, July 12, 6 to 8 p.m., Milton Sports Centre (Optimist Room), 605 Santa Maria Boulevard, Milton

You can register at halton.ca/safetyandwell-being to attend any of these sessions.

Halton Region is committed to improving access to services for residents by working closely with our community partners on key issues including mental health, access to nutritious food, supports for families, older adults and newcomers and community safety. Together, we make Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

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”.

Join us at Halton’s Paramedic Day June 3

ParamedicDay1_2To wrap up this year’s Paramedic Services Week, Halton will be opening up its Ambulance Headquarters at the Woodlands Operation Centre at 1179 Bronte Road in Oakville for a unique, behind-the-scenes paramedic experience. Please join us on Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as we celebrate and thank our Paramedic Services team for all the hard work they do each and every day to help keep Halton a safe and healthy community.

Halton Region’s Paramedic Day offers activities for the entire family: climb aboard an ambulance, see the special gear our tactical paramedics wear, learn CPR, visit the bike helmet safety station and enjoy the children’s activities and food trucks.

Halton Region has more than 220 paramedics who act quickly and professionally to provide responsive emergency health care when needed. Supporting our community 24/7, 365 days per year, Halton’s dedicated paramedics are the best in the country and have been recently recognized for their outstanding contributions.

ParamedicDay2

From left to right: Celebrating Halton’s recent success at the National Paramedic Competition are Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr, Primary Care Paramedic Adam Sellors, Primary Care Paramedic Justin Mlynaryk and Chief/Director of Paramedic Services Greg Sage.

Two teams of Halton Region paramedics received top honours at the National Paramedic Competition in Ottawa. The exceptional achievements of our teams at the national competition speak to their dedication and commitment and I’m proud that the skills of Halton’s Paramedic Services were able to be showcased on the national stage.

Every year, our paramedics respond to more than 50,000 calls and transport almost 30,000 people, ensuring our community gets the care it needs when people are at their most vulnerable. On behalf of Halton Regional Council, thank you to all our paramedics. I hope Halton residents will join us on Paramedic Day to learn about all the services they offer to help keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more, visit halton.ca/paramedicday.

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”.

Staying safe while enjoying summer

Summer is great time to get outdoors and explore our beautiful region. Whether it’s going for a dip at the beach, hiking one of Halton’s many trails, having people over for a barbeque or enjoying a picnic at a local park, it’s important to remember that making smart choices helps keep you safe. Below are some tips and information to keep in mind while you enjoy all that Halton has to offer this summer!

Beach safety

We are fortunate to have several recreational beaches located throughout the region. Beginning in June, our Health Department staff sample Halton’s beach water to determine if the water is safe for swimming and water activities. The beach water quality results are updated weekly at halton.ca/beach and you can check to see if it’s safe to go swimming before heading to the beach.

Air quality and heat safety

You can help protect yourself from the health impacts of extreme heat and poor air quality by getting environmental alerts delivered to your inbox. This is especially important for people with health concerns such as asthma, families who have children in outdoor summer camps or people who work outside. Sign up to receive alerts at halton.ca/airquality.

As we get closer to summer and higher temperatures, it’s important to drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks from activities and use sun protection. Also remember to visit family members, friends and neighbours at risk from extreme heat to make sure they are staying cool and hydrated. To learn more, visit halton.ca/heat.

Food safety

Summer means firing up the grill and barbecuing. Make sure your food is safe by following these four tips:

  • Clean
  • Separate
  • Cook
  • Chill

After a day of visiting our local farms or farmers’ markets, remember to properly wash and store your fresh fruits and vegetables. To learn more, visit halton.ca/foodsafety.

Mosquito safety

Halton Region staff work hard to help protect our communities from mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus (WNV). The Halton Region Health Department monitors and helps control the mosquito population to reduce the risk of West Nile virus in the region. Residents can also protect themselves by:

  • wearing insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin;
  • avoiding being outdoors at dusk and dawn;
  • covering up: wearing light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs; and
  • removing areas of standing water from your home

Practice tick safety when travelling

While the risk of tick-borne diseases in Halton is low, it’s important that residents are aware of how to protect themselves. If you will be around wooded, brushy or tall grass areas, or traveling to areas identified at risk for Lyme disease, you should be especially cautious and know how to avoid tick bites. Halton residents can also submit ticks found on themselves or family members for identification and testing through the submit-a-tick program.

By working together, we can help keep our community safe and healthy, and ensure that Halton continues to be a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. Wishing you all a fun summer in Halton!

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”.

Supporting the health, safety and well-being of Halton residents

Regional Council is awarding nearly $2.9 million in funding to 40 community programs and projects dedicated to improving access to health and safety services for those at risk or in need. The funding, being awarded in grants of one, two and three years, is provided through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF) to enhance the health, safety and well-being of residents through a range of initiatives. This includes programs addressing mental health, preventing homelessness and supporting older adults, children and youth, while also improving the food security of our most vulnerable residents.

The HRCIF helps critical non-profit programs deliver or expand services, upgrade equipment and launch new initiatives to help improve and enhance the lives of Halton residents.

HRCIF_GroupOne of the key actions in the Halton Region Strategic Action Plan, 2015 –2018, is supporting the health and well-being of all Halton residents by promoting good mental health in the community. This year, the HRCIF is investing in many community mental health programs, including:

  • $390,594 over two years to the Canadian Mental Health Association to provide 24/7 mental health and addictions outreach support and maintain a constant presence at the Lighthouse Shelter and
  • $255,000 over three years to Nelson Youth Centres to deliver therapeutic supports to children and youth with emotional challenges.

The investment fund is also contributing to programs that support the needs of children and youth, including:

  • $130,350 over three years to support Camp Unity, a program led by the Halton Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Collaborative that provides summer camp opportunities to children with FASD;
  • $147,834 to expand the YMCA of Oakville’s Sport Leadership program to support at promise youth to gain leadership skills, certification and employment opportunities in the sport/recreation sector; and
  • $85,500 over three years to Acclaim Health to help support the needs of older adults by increasing support for caregivers of individuals with dementia, as well as investing in other programs that support older adults.

Making sure residents have access to safe and nutritious food is an important focus of the investment fund with $775,436 being invested in food security programs between 2017 and 2019, including:

Not only did Halton award funds to 40 programs in 2017, 15 organizations are also receiving $558,174 in funding for the second and third year of multi-year grants awarded in 2015-16.

Our commitment to keeping our communities safe and healthy is what makes Halton Region such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more about the Halton Region Community Investment Fund and how Halton is working with community partners to improve access to services, visit halton.ca/investmentfund or dial 311.

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”.

ReThink Water: Enjoy. Conserve. Protect.

Halton Region provides residents with access to safe, high-quality drinking water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Halton has 12 water treatment plants across the region that provide over 500,000 residents with 62 billion litres of drinking water each year. This water is carefully monitored and tested to ensure it is safe when it reaches your home, school or business.

As our population continues to grow, Halton Region is investing in upgrades and expansions to our water systems and treatment facilities to ensure water is available whenever you need it.

Residents are encouraged to ReThink water, too – Halton offers resources and services to make it easy for you to enjoy, conserve and protect water. Below are some examples:

  • Some Halton residents rely on private wells as their primary source of drinking water. If you are one of these households, remember to test your water at least three times per year. Halton makes it easy by providing free well water sample bottles and convenient sample drop off depots across the region. For more information, visit halton.ca/wellwater.
  • Protect source water and Regional infrastructure by putting waste in its place. Please do not put household hazardous waste, personal care items or pharmaceuticals down the drain or in rivers, lakes or streams. Visit halton.ca/putwasteinitsplace to use our online tool to find out how to properly dispose of your waste.
  • Halton Region’s annual rain barrel sale is back for another year. ReThink water and purchase a rain barrel at one of our sale events. Visit halton.ca/rainbarrels for dates and locations.

Water quality and reliability will always be a top priority for Halton Region. Together, we can ensure water is safe and available for the over 200,000 households and businesses across the region and keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more about how Halton is providing reliable and safe drinking water and what you can do, visit halton.ca/rethinkwater.

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”.