Be prepared for severe summer weather

EmergencyPrepWEBAs we move into August, it’s important to remember that great weather can quickly take a turn for the worse. Floods, tornadoes and lightning storms are more frequent during the summer—storms can also bring down power lines and cause wide-spread power outages across a municipality or region.

The Region works closely with our community partners to help protect residents and businesses from emergencies, including severe weather. Through planning, joint exercises and ongoing evaluation, we ensure that we are ready to respond in a crisis; however, emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that involves individuals, all levels of government and local organizations. By preparing your home and family, you can help reduce the impact of severe weather and improve the resilience of our entire community.

Follow the steps

You can prepare for any emergency, including severe weather, by following these three simple steps:

  • Know the risks—identify potential hazards in your community and stay informed about emergencies through alerts from the province or your local news provider.
  • Make a plan—determine what each member of your household would do during and after various emergencies, also considering neighbours, family and friends who may be particularly vulnerable.
  • Get a kit—assemble, buy or refresh the items your household would need to stay safe for 72 hours, including supplies for older adults, children and pets.

Staying up-to-date on current weather conditions can also help you prepare or react when a severe warning is in effect. Check the radio or television, visit halton.ca/severeweather or call 311 for updates and information.

When you are prepared and keeping up-to-date on important information, first responders can focus their attention on those in immediate need during an emergency situation. By working together, we help keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

To learn more about emergency preparedness, visit halton.ca/beprepared. To learn about how the Region is adapting to climate change to increase resiliency and support the needs of the community, visit halton.ca/actionplan.

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”.

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”.

Emergencies can happen anywhere, at any time

 

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Nishan Duraiappah, Deputy Chief, Halton Regional Police Service; Greg Sage, Chief, Paramedic Services, Halton Region; Gary Carr, Halton Regional Chair; Ralph Blauel, Chief, Emergency Management, Halton Region; and Gerry Lieferink, Platoon Chief, Oakville Fire, encourage residents to be prepared for emergencies.

At Halton Region, we are ready to respond to emergencies in the community—our emergency management plans and programs help ensure that our essential services remain available when you need them most. This commitment requires ongoing collaboration with local municipalities and community partners to coordinate response efforts and reduce the impact of emergency situations.

While we contribute by enhancing the resilience of our services, emergency preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. You can take these three simple steps to be prepared and help everyone in Halton stay safe.

  • First step: know the risks – identify potential hazards in your community and stay informed about emergencies through alerts from the province or your local news provider.
  • Second step: make a plan – determine what each member of your household would do during and after various emergencies, also considering neighbours, family and friends who may be particularly vulnerable.
  • Third step: get a kit – assemble, buy or refresh the items your household would need to stay safe for 72 hours, including supplies for older adults, children and pets.

May 7-13 is Emergency Preparedness Week, and I encourage you to take this opportunity to follow these three steps and prepare. In addition to protecting your home and family, your efforts allow first responders to focus their attention on those in immediate need during an emergency situation. May 1 was First Responder’s Day in Ontario, and I would like to thank Halton’s dedicated paramedics, police officers and firefighters for helping to keep us safe.

Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that involves individuals, all levels of government and our community. To learn more about emergency preparedness, visit halton.ca/beprepared. By working together, we help keep 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”.

Kicking off Emergency Preparedness week with First Responders Day

This week marks Emergency Preparedness (May 4-10). As a kick off to the week, Halton Region’s CAO, Jane MacCaskill and I joined with Halton Regional Police Service, Halton Paramedic Services, and the Regional Fire Chief to recognize the inaugural First Responders Day on May 1.

The Province of Ontario designated May 1 as First Responders Day to celebrate the sacrifices and hard work of First Responders who have devoted their lives to public service. At the event, Jane and I thanked our emergency services for their ongoing commitment to community safety and for keeping Halton Region the safest community in Canada. We also shared messages of how residents can make a difference too with the three ‘P’s to safety: Prevent, Protect, Prepare. 

Emergency Preparedness Week is about this third ‘P’. It is a national awareness initiative that encourages residents to take steps to be prepared for a range of emergencies. Getting you and your family is actually very easy. It only takes three simple steps:

  1. Know the risks.
  2. Make a plan.
  3. Get a kit. 

Take the time to get to know the risks of possible emergency situations. For example, what would you do if there was an extended power or water failure? When you know the risks, you will be able to take the next step of making a plan.

Making a plan is important so you and your family know what to do in an emergency.. For example, think about how you might stay safe within your home or where you would go if you needed to evacuate. 

Finally, get a kit. Assembling or buying a kit ensures that you and your family will be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.Make sure everyone knows where the kit is, and that it includes a number of items such as a first-aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, etc. You can find a kit checklist on our website. You’ll also find more information about the other two steps. 

Emergency preparedness is important for everyone. While we encourage all residents to take the three steps, we, at Halton Region, also take our commitment to being prepared for any scenario seriously. We have many plans in place to ensure we are ready for any emergency that may impact our region: from weather-related hazards (like the recent ice storm) to health outbreaks like SARS or H1N1. We work closely and collaboratively with our local partners to ensure we have the right plans in place, and we regularly test our plans to ensure we are ready to respond effectively in an emergency. 

So, during Emergency Preparedness Week, please take the time to learn how to prepare yourself, your family, and your community for any situation. Visit our website for all of the information and resources you need: www.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.”

 

Emergency Preparedness

“Plan for the worst and hope for the best” may be a cliché but it does have some merit.

Working to meet the priorities of the Citizens’ Action Plan, Halton Region has comprehensive, detailed plans in place to respond to many emergency situations, which include coordination with community partners such as each Local Municipality, local fire services and Halton Regional Police. We also regularly put our plans to the test to ensure we are ready to respond effectively. These efforts are all part of our commitment to enhance the safety of all residents in Halton.

Late last year we also launched an enhanced Community Notification Service (eCNS) using a database that includes contact information for more than 95 per cent of Halton residents and businesses with traditional land line telephone service. Halton is one of the first Canadian municipalities to have access to this enhanced data for use in its community notification efforts.

We can’t always prevent or stop an emergency, but we can all be prepared by knowing the risks, having a plan and getting an emergency kit. For more information about Halton’s Emergency Management Program and to download or order Halton’s Personal Emergency Preparedness Guide, visit www.halton.ca/beprepared or dial 311. You can also follow @BPreparedHalton on Twitter for incident updates and preparedness tips.

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.”

Exercise “Howling Wind” proved a successful test of Halton’s emergency response

In Halton, our emergency response partners, the Halton Regional Police Service, the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville, work together to plan for and manage emergencies.

On November 19, 2013, I joined Halton Regional staff and Town of Halton Hills staff and officials as well as emergency services staff in Exercise “Howling Wind,” conducted as part of Halton Region’s Emergency Management Program.EOC_2013-11-19_165_rev

As the name suggests, as a group we were responding to a simulated community emergency – a large, damaging hurricane that resulted in a power black-out and flooding across the Region.

In our 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 and the Community Emergency Notification System (CENS), which provides the Region and emergency partners with the ability to phone homes and businesses in an impacted area in the event of an emergency.EOC_2013-11-19_140_media

This exercise helped us fulfill legislated requirements by the Province, provided staff training and helped improve our emergency response capabilities.  We gained some valuable insights that will allow us to be even better prepared in the case of a real emergency and continue as a leader in emergency preparedness.

Earlier this month, Halton Region launched an improved CENS service using an enhanced database that includes contact information for more than 95 per cent of Halton residents and businesses with traditional land line telephone service.  Halton is one of the first Canadian municipalities to have access to this enhanced data for use in its CENS, one of many tools Halton and our Emergency Response partners use to notify residents in situations such as emergencies and public safety incidents. If you would like to learn more about CENS visit halton.ca/cens.

While we are working hard to keep residents safe, individuals also have an important role to play. Are you prepared?  Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility. Be prepared…learn the steps outlined in our Personal Emergency Preparedness Guides and our videos: Emergency Preparedness: An introduction to Personal Preparedness from Halton Region and Emergency Preparedness.

For more information about Halton’s Emergency Management Program, dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/beprepared. You can also follow Emergency Preparedness on Twitter for emergency updates and preparedness tips. 

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.”

Be prepared for winter weather

On November 1, Halton Region rolled out an enhanced emergency notification service which gives us access to an improved database. We can now reach more than 95 per cent of Halton residents with traditional land line telephone service in emergency situations.  As one of the first Canadian municipalities to have access to Bell Canada’s 9-1-1 data for use in emergency situations, Halton Region continues to be a leader in delivering community emergency notification services. 

We all need to be prepared, because emergencies can happen any time and any place. In Halton, our emergency response partners work together to plan for and manage emergencies.  Our goal is to ensure that residents are safe and that Halton is a disaster resilient community, ready to deal with any potential, imminent or actual emergency. 

While governments and partners at all levels work hard to keep residents safe, individuals also have an important role to play. Are you prepared?  Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility.

As winter approaches, we face the possibility of:

I encourage you to take time to learn more about emergency preparedness. This winter, be prepared…take the steps!

For more information about Halton’s Emergency Management Program, dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/beprepared. You can also follow Emergency Preparedness on Twitter for emergency updates and preparedness tips. 

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.”