Northern Alberta county proposes regional emergency partnership
April 11, 2023
By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Northern Sunrise County in Northern Alberta decided at its March 28 meeting to send a letter to neighbouring municipalities to see if they would like to participate in a Regional Emergency Partnership.
The decision comes after council’s request late last fall for administration to research the feasibility of a regional emergency partnership and bring back information to them for a decision to be made.
“At a meeting of the County’s Emergency Management Agency, there was discussion around the complexities and sometimes the length of time that some municipalities have had to operate and work through emergencies,” says Reeve Corinna Williams.
“It was felt that if a regional partnership could be established, municipalities could assist one another in times of needs in various capacities.”
Williams explains logistics of the partnership will have to be ironed out, if the other municipalities in the region are interested in joining forces.
“One of the things that administration will consider is the distance from each other,” she says.
“The initial thoughts are having municipalities join the partnership that are about one hour driving time from one another.”
In March a meeting was held to facilitate a preliminary discussion with staff from County of Northern Lights, M.D. of Peace No. 135, M.D. of Smoky River, Northern Sunrise County, Town of Grimshaw, Town of Manning, Town of Peace River and Village of Nampa. NSC deputy fire chief Julien Bergeron led the discussion from which two main themes were voiced. The communities said there were too few people resources in their small municipalities and that there was a lack of emergency management training among the people in the smaller communities.
All municipalities attending agreed there is a desire and need to collaborate with one another to provide training to people for emergency response and to work together to keep the communities safe.
“By bringing people together, staff can assist each other in times of need. It was evident from the people attending the meeting that there is an opportunity to provide regional training,” says Williams.
“Deputy chief Bergeron can provide Incident Command System Training up to and including ICS 300; it starts at ICS 100. This is a system recognized throughout the province, and Canada, that gives people a common framework and language to work from. There is also an opportunity to practice together in emergency situations with a ‘tabletop’ activity that takes participants through an emergency to give people some experience and practice for real-life situations.”
NSC agreed to send a letter to other municipalities to request this participation in the development of the partnership. The initial formation of the group will be to provide training and all for sharing information with one another.
There is currently no confirmed date as to when the partnership will commence. NSC administration will determine next steps and develop a project plan once other municipalities confirm they would like to participate.
Emily Plihal is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for South Peace News.
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