Preparedness a key priority for Greater Trail emergency officials

The row of books above Dan Derby’s desk attests to the amount of preparedness there is in the event of an emergency in the region.

The row of books above Dan Derby’s desk attests to the amount of preparedness there is in the event of an emergency in the region.

Responding to a letter to the editor in last week’s Trail Times, Derby and Trail’s Public Works manager and a member of the Emergency Planning Centre Larry Abenante gave a detailed account of the training, education and practice behind the region’s emergency preparedness plan.

Abenante explained how the response plan is an evolving document as contact personnel changes, services improve and preparation is evaluated. Participants in the plan are continuously training and upgrading for any potential disaster.

Derby presented a partial list of table-top emergencies and seminars that local authorities have participated in. It ranges from flood observation and training to a Pacific Northwest exercise that included 40 agencies from the U.S. and Canada to last month’s wildfire exercise in Grand Forks where emergency plans were rehearsed.

He pointed to Sunday night’s fire in downtown Trail as an example of all facets of emergency response – from police to ambulance to firefighters – were quickly on hand to deal with the situation.

And it’s only going to get better. A revision of the master plan for the entire district is nearing completion, which will streamline response time and have all parties on the same page.

“The new plan is a plan that can be used in Warfield, Trail even as far away as Greenwood,” said Abenante.

The master plan has contact people and services in each region so it can be executed quickly and effectively.

“There’s a matrix for the whole regional district; who has what training, when they got it,” he added.

While the majority of the plan involves the key personnel required in the event of an emergency, Abenante and Derby both agreed that the first line of safety for individual residents is common sense.

Having an emergency kit at home is the first step towards surviving any emergency.

“During an emergency, you could be on your own for an extended period,” said Derby.

“Emergency services may not be readily available, as increasing demands are placed on responders. It may take emergency workers some time to get to you as they help those in most critical need. Access to phones, gas, water, sewer and electrical services may be cut off. Learning how to be personally prepared is vital.”

Derby also suggested visiting the RDKB website for more information.

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