P.E.I.'s very first joint municipal EMO group has been formed, and organizers hope the Tyne Valley Fire District Joint Emergency Measures Organization will be a model for other regions on the Island.
Emergency measures organizations help plan for emergencies such as flooding, power outages or other disasters. P.E.I. has a provincial EMO, but the Tyne Valley group will be the province's first regional organization.
'We hope all our planning and training never has to be used.' — Karen Rank, joint EMO coordinator
Representatives of the four municipalities — Ellerslie-Bideford, Lady Slipper, Lot 11 and Area, and Tyne Valley — met to sign their final cooperative plan Tuesday.
"Should an emergency arise within any of the four communities, the one joint EMO team will enact and we will set up warming centres or whatever is needed for that emergency," said Karen Rank, the new joint EMO coordinator and vice-chair of the Lot 11 council.
The communities hope the new plan could save time and eliminate confusion.
"If there is an emergency, people will only need to contact one person as opposed to four communities," Rank said.
"Jointly, we'll help out the one community or all four communities if it's a large emergency."
Residents in the area are used to working together to help out one another, Rank added.
"We hope all our planning and training never has to be used, but we will be ready to meet any challenge that could come our way," she said.
Next step: prepare
The new EMO, which consists of 10 people, will now form a working group to set up an emergency coordination centre, with space provided by the Tyne Valley Fire Department, and holding ongoing training and mock exercises.
It's first goal will be to encourage residents to prepare for emergencies by gathering a kit that includes water, food, batteries, candles and more.
The new members have received training and support from the provincial EMO.
The plan has been in the works for three years.