SASKATOON – Disasters can strike quickly, without warning and catch communities off-guard. Emergency preparedness was front and centre as the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) convention kicked off Sunday in Saskatoon.
In 2014, flooding forced dozens of Saskatchewan communities to declare states of emergency as large sections of highways were closed, homes were surrounded by water and access was blocked to some communities.
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In October 2013, Kindersley declared a local state of emergency after a fire at the landfill forced them to issue an air quality advisory. The chief administrative officer for Kindersley says it’s imperative for local communities to have up-to-date, comprehensive emergency plans.
“[It] basically tells you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and the types of resources that you need to be successful,” said Bernie Morton.
“The plan always needs to be reviewed, it needs to be revised.”
Morton is one of the over one-thousand representatives from the province’s cities, towns and villages attending the convention at TCU Place.
Ken Peters, the emergency management coordinator for Regina Beach, called a local state of emergency after a gas explosion levelled a house at the beginning of December in the community north of Regina.
He shared similar advice as Morton.
“I’ve probably updated our emergency plan in the last three years, probably four, maybe five times already … what procedures to follow, who has to be contacted, what resources would have to be contacted,” said Peters.
Premier Brad Wall will be speaking Monday at the SUMA convention where the issue of revenue sharing is expected to be raised.
Delegates will also be debating a resolution from the City of North Battleford calling for a national inquiry or roundtable into missing and murdered aboriginal women. Another topic on the agenda is mandatory helmets for bike riders. Both will be debated on Tuesday.
The SUMA convention continues until Wednesday.
With files from Amber Rockliffe