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Stettler County making changes to regional emergency management

In an effort to cut down on meetings and streamline processes, the County of Stettler passed a regional emergency management bylaw during their June 8 meeting.

The creation of the bylaw replaces and repeals the previous municipal bylaw and allows the Stettler Regional Emergency Management Agency (SREMA) to conduct emergency management meetings for the county and the rest of the partners.

Authority for this regional agency is granted by the province through a ministerial order. The regional agency will be operated by a committee which will have two County of Stettler councillors and a representative from each member municipality.

By allowing the regional agency to take over emergency management the member communities would no longer be required to have their own before attending regional ones.

According to director of Protective Services Clinton Sime, who presented during the meeting, as the director of emergency management he would spend a significant amount of time in “cookie-cutter” meetings with the various partners to meet legislative requirements.

By becoming fully regionalized, the number of meetings Sime would be required to attend would be dropped considerably from the dozen or so a year he currently attends.

Memorandum of Understanding

During another part of the meeting, Sime gave an update on the county’s emergency supplies for setting evacuation reception centres, and the news was not good.

“There’s not much accountability in regard to emergency reception centres,” said Sime.

“Every five to 15 years someone drags (the equipment) out, realizes it is sub-par, replaces it, then puts it away for another 15 to 20 years.”

According to Sime, if the county wanted to maintain its own supplies to operate a reception centre in case part of the county needed to be evacuated, the materials would need to be reviewed and updated more frequently and come with a significant cost.

Two quotes for stocking a 50 person reception centre were attached to the request for council decision: the first, provided by F.A.S.T. Limited was just over $10,000, and the second, by Total Prepare Emergency Preparedness Solutions was just under $6,000.

Both quotes included sleeping bags, hygiene products, and other necessities.

Another option presented to council was to pursue memorandum of understandings with the Red Cross and local corporate hotel chains. With this option there would be no immediate financial obligation from the county, the county would only need to pay if the agreements were initiated.

“I’m in favour of option two for a variety of reasons,” said Coun. Justin Stevens.

The rest of council was in agreement and directed administration to begin working on the agreements.

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