What happens in an emergency?
The City of Lethbridge follows a structured, practiced Municipal Emergency Plan (MEP). Which can involve activating the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) which is located at fire headquarters.
What constitutes an emergency?
An event that requires prompt coordination of persons or property to protect the safety, health or welfare of people or to limit damage to property.
What is the Municipal Emergency Plan?
The Municipal Emergency Plan (MEP) is a plan of action for all City of Lethbridge Services, Agencies, Boards, Commissions, and Volunteer Agencies in the event of, or the threat of a situation caused by the forces of nature, accidents, an intentional act or otherwise, that constitutes a large scale emergency.
When is the ECC activated?
The Incident Commander (Fire or Police) will determine if the Emergency Coordination Centre needs to be activated.
The Incident Commander is the person responsible for all aspects of an emergency response; including developing objectives, managing operations, applying resources and has responsibility for all persons involved. The role of Incident Commander is usually assumed by a senior officer upon their arrival or as the situation dictates.
The Incident Commander will connect with the Chief on Call who will authorize opening the downtown Fire Headquarters Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC).
What person(s) and agencies are called to the ECC to assist in the planning of emergency operations?
• Emergency Coordination Centre Director- Fire Chief or Chief on Call
• Emergency Coordination Centre Coordinator- Deputy Chief and/or Emergency Management Coordinator
• Chief of Operations- Typically the agency affected the most by the emergency.
o (ex. Police, Fire, EMS, Transit, Transportation, Public Works, Red Cross)
• Public Information Officer, City of Lethbridge Corporate Communications
• Chief of Planning- This is a representative who can come from various City departments (ex. facility services, Transportation, etc.) depending on the nature of the event.
• Chief of Finance & Administration- In the case of a prolonged emergency event, this representative would oversee the finances of the event
• Liaisons from various companies or stakeholders outside of City departments
o (ex. Epcor, Atco, Canadian Healthcare Association, Alberta Emergency Management Agency, Alberta Health Services)
• Senior City Staff and Political Representatives- This group handles the many aspects of an emergency and ensures efforts are coordinated and resources are available as required. In the case of the September 2012 wildfires, the fires also impacted the County of Lethbridge and the County activated their ECC which maintained communication with the City of Lethbridge ECC on a regular basis to ensure efforts remained coordinated.
If the event is highly specialized and localized to a particular impacted area, then only half of the emergency operations staff are required. When this occurs, it is called a partial activation.
What emergencies does the City of Lethbridge plan for?
Lethbridge’s most common emergencies are weather related; snow, flood, fire, and/or high winds. The City also prepares for industrial, chemical and rail accidents as well as power outages.
The City of Lethbridge Emergency Managers do regular risk assessments as well as conduct a table top or practice exercises once every year – with a full scale exercise every 3 years.
What technologies does the City of Lethbridge have in place for emergencies?
The City has technology that contacts emergency officials with one call. Responders acknowledge they have heard the message and the Fire Chief is able to keep track of who is on route to the ECC.
How does the City communicate with residents during an emergency?
- Local media through regular updates
- City of Lethbridge Facebook and Twitter social media sites
- Press releases and public safety announcements (PSAs)
- Messaging through media outlets (print, radio, tv)
- Working with Alberta Emergency Alert for messages and updates
- Constant communication with the Mayor, Lethbridge Regional Police Service, Lethbridge Fire & EMS, Emergency Social Services teams
- Media conference for emergency updates
What is the Alberta Emergency Alert?
The City of Lethbridge works in partnership to share information through the Alberta Emergency Alert; a public warning system.
Alberta Emergency Alert is a digital public warning system used to alert the public of hazards, potential emergencies or disasters, through participating distributors (such as broadcast media) and the Internet.
Based on the urgency and severity of the alert it will air directly over television and radio to the affected area are made available to distributors to air at their discretion. All alerts are posted on the Alberta Emergency Alert website where the public can subscribe to receive information they may be interested in.
What can you do to help prepare you and your family for an emergency?
1. Have a 72 hour emergency plan. Information can be found at http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/.
The Province of Alberta also offers emergency information including emergency preparedness sheets for several common emergencies. http://alberta.ca/Emergencypreparation.cfm
2. Stay informed.
a. Listen to the radio, watch TV or check local news or government websites.
In the event of an emergency, regular updates will interrupt broadcasting.
b. Follow emergency social media sites:
• Alberta Emergency Alert Twitter
• City of Lethbridge Twitter (@lethbridgecity)