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:

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at 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.”


Move to the right for emergency vehicles – Someone’s life depends on it

Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day. —  Sally Koch

In an emergency situation, when someone is hurt and their life is danger, seconds matter. When you see an emergency vehicle approaching with their lights flashing, slow down, safely get out of the way and move to the right.

Emergency vehicles include ambulances, police cruisers and fire trucks.

Halton Region Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responds to more than 50,000 calls each year. Many of the emergency calls come during high-traffic times which presents a challenge in reaching the victims. Even with the 11 EMS stations and 20 vehicles throughout the Region, having a clear, unobstructed roadway is so important.

We are very fortunate to have such great Emergency Medical Services in Halton Region. They are among the best in the province. For the past decade, Halton Region EMS has consistently met or been below the minimum required response times which are set according to the Province’s Ambulance Act.

Meeting or being below the Provincial response time standard has a lot to do with the residents and commuters on the roads. As the Region’s population grows, it only natural that calls for paramedics will grow too. When you are out and about, be safe but mindful of your surroundings when in your car – you never know whose life depends on it. Slow down and move to the right when you see an emergency vehicle approaching you from behind.

Time is always essential. A one or two minute delay will feel like an eternity for those involved in a car-crash or those doing bystander CPR on a cardiac arrest victim.

With everyone’s help, Halton Region will continue to be a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

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As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at 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.”