Chestermere City Council approved an update to the Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP) at the April 3 council meeting.
Once the final training for the updated plan is completed, the city will be better prepared to respond to a local emergency.
“It is very important to consider how we can be prepared for disasters,” said Donelda Laing Director of Community Services with the city.
“By updating this plan and participating in training, we are improving our ability to respond as a City,” she said.
Should the city’s MEMP plan be activated, Laing would become the Director of Emergency Management for the duration of the response.
The MEMP was last updated by the city in 2011. Since that time, emergency management practices in the province have moved towards a standardized process using an Incident Command System (ICS).
With council’s approval of all three readings of the bylaw, Chestermere’s MEMP is now in alignment with the ICS standards.
Other notable updates to the plan include changes to the hazard and risk assessment ensuring that the plan will adequately addresses significant potential hazards within Chestermere.
The update also clarifies the responsibilities and roles of responders, improving the mitigation and preparedness and the response and recovery sections of the plan.
There has also been a decided effort to improve the coordination of the city’s plan with other stakeholders in the area including the school districts, Chestermere Utilities Inc., Rocky View County and the City of Calgary.
“Improved systems, increased training and clear roles ensure that the City is ready to respond in the event of an emergency or disaster,” said Laing.
The plan was developed by Sandhurst Consulting for the city. The update to the MEMP cost $60,000.
“The consultant working on the plan also provided extensive training for City staff and this has greatly supported our staff’s ability to respond in an emergency,” said Laing.
As part of the MEMP, a hazard and risk assessment has been done to identify the most likely hazards facing the city.
Laing said that they identified, “wildfires (grass fires), high intensity residential fires, hazardous materials transportation, floods (extreme rainfall/run off), a water main break, and weather events as the most likely dangers to Chestermere.”
The city last activated the MEMP on Oct. 2, 2017 in response to the closure of Highway 1.
“There were a number of resources being allocated to this response and activating the plan enabled Chestermere to respond in a coordinated manner,” said Laing.
She encourages residents to visit either the city’s website at www.chestermere.ca or www.getprepared.gc.ca to learn how they can prepare for an emergency.