Members of the Wheatland Regional Emergency Management Partnership (WREMP), is planning to hold a regional live exercise on Thursday, September 28 to help members be prepared for an actual emergency.
The regional partnership is made up of Wheatland County, the villages of Rockyford, Standard, and Hussar, the Town of Strathmore, and the City of Chestermere, which joined the partnership earlier this year.
“We will have two incidents, one in Chestermere which will be a natural disaster, and one in Strathmore which will be a hazardous materials incident,” WREMP Emergency Management coordinator Sara Coutts tells the Mail.
She notes the specifics of each of the planned scenarios are confidential and was unable to comment further. What she was able to share is that the scenarios will have multiple participants from Chestermere, Strathmore, and Wheatland County, as well as the village partners; Wheatland County will have firefighters from its multiple county-operated fire departments participating, and Wheatland County is also providing use of its Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) for the scenario.
There will also be an estimated 34 external agencies involved, and Ms. Coutts explains the scenarios will help everyone involved to grow their capacity in an emergency situation, and help them to work better together.
High school drama students from Chestermere and Strathmore high schools will also participate as patients for each of the respective scenarios. Ms. Coutts says the students are very excited to be part of the exercise.
“We’ve seen growth in natural disasters, and disasters in general. We want plans in place and want to be ready,” she says.
She acknowledges the practice from the live exercise will be helpful in “bridging the gap” so first responders and other emergency personnel are better prepared in the event of a real disaster, whether it is natural or otherwise.
Strathmore and Wheatland County will be utilizing the Voyant Alert app, which is only available to those who sign up, to share real-time updates and notifications while Chestermere will be sharing its updates via social media.
This will help to expand the audience and help residents be involved and informed about the scenario as it unfolds. Any properties within the scenario area which may be used as part of the exercise will have door knockers attend the properties with information and how their properties were used, which may include practice evacuations.
Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, DrumhellerMail.com, The Drumheller Mail