In the wake of a year in which North Battleford's emergency preparedness was put to the test, the city is planning increased preparedness efforts in 2011.
City administration plans to present an Emergency Preparedness Bylaw for council consideration, which would "further validate the plans and clarify responsibilities and authorities," according to a memo from Fire Chief Pat MacIsaac dated Dec. 16.
Also in the works is further education of council of their responsibilities and powers in a crisis, the development of a community education plan to create a more resilient populace that would ease the pressure on emergency crews, the City's participation as evaluators in full-scale exercises in Prince Albert, and then in turn see professional emergency planners from the Cities Network facilitate at least one exercise within North Battleford. As well, MacIsaac wants planning to begin for a full scale exercise in North Battleford the following year, in 2012.
MacIsaac said he expected a draft of the new Emergency Preparedness Bylaw to come to council in the New Year.
These plans have been in the works for some time, MacIsaac said. The July 22 hail storm and flash flood highlighted the need for emergency preparedness, the fire chief told councillors at their municipal services meeting Dec. 20.
"The flood that we had this summer was indicative of how important emergency planning is," said MacIsaac.
The City has a number of measures in effect to deal with emergencies. MacIsaac outlined some of the plans that are in place and functional: the City of North Battleford emergency plan, its appendices, an Emergency Social Services Plan and a Business Continuity Plan.
The City has also applied for a 50 cent to the dollar grant under the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program to develop an emergency operations centre and training centre, and provide for portable emergency power generation. The grant would total around $70,000 and MacIsaac told councillors they expect word on it by March.
As well, over 30 staff members attended courses in basic emergency preparedness and emergency operations centre management hosted by the City and delivered by the office of the fire commissioner.
The City also has partnerships with other municipalities and levels of government and is active on the Municipal Emergency Preparedness Committee and Saskatchewan Emergency Preparedness Association, as well as Partnerships Toward Safer Communities.