Exercise Domino simulates major disaster in Saskatoon

People in Saskatoon may notice more police and fire crews out on the streets this week practicing urban and medical rescue procedures as part of a major disaster exercise.

Exercise will test city's ability to cope with disaster

A multi-agency emergency training operation takes place in Saskatoon on Monday. (David Shield/CBC)

There's no need for people to worry about the increased number of police officers and firefighters on the streets of Saskatoon this week, rather they should be reassured. 

Exercise Domino is only practice. The large-scale emergency measures exercise is designed to simulate a major disaster in the city. All three  levels of government and 30 organizations are practicing urban and medical rescue procedures as part of the exercise, which runs today through Thursday.

"Just like if you're a sports fan and you see the Riders practicing, you know that you're in better shape for game day if they hadn't been practicing," Ray Unrau, director of emergency planning with the City of Saskatoon, told CBC News.

It will be mainly a virtual exercise, but residents may see additional emergency crews on the streets of Saskatoon over the next few days. 

Focused on gaps in plan

Unrau said they're less focused on the nature of the disaster than what would be done during any type of hazard, whether it's a flood, tornado or long-term power outage during the winter.

"What we're really focused on in that practice is how does one activity from one organization domino, or affect, other organizations," he said, adding that it's gaps in the plan that they're looking for.

Seniors from the Parkville Manor are loaded onto a bus Monday as part of Exercise Domino. (David Shield/CBC)
 Today's practice was on the evacuation procuss. Residents of Parkville Manor played evacuees and 120 seniors were transported to Warman.

The rescue phase of the exercise takes place tomorrow in several uninhabited buildings at McNab Park. This phase of the exercise will include the RCMP's helicopter, Saskatoon police's plane and the STARS air ambulance.

 In a news release Saskatoon’s Emergency Planning Director Ray Unrau said that, “An exercise of this nature is timely considering recent real-life events. The Calgary and southern Alberta floods as well as the explosion in Lac Mégantic, Quebec are sober reminders we need to be ready for anything.” 

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