Grenfell’s Emergency Measures Organization Plan is in the process of restructure and revision.
Town Council has spearheaded the EMO initiative and has appointed Jay Jenkins as Grenfell’s new Emergency Measures Organization Coordinator.
As mandated by the Emergency Planning Act, 1989, the municipality will establish a local EMO and Disaster Plan which will draw upon the knowledge and resources of the community.
The Town of Grenfell does have a Disaster Plan in effect, though it is severely outdated and was last amended in 2008.
Newly appointed EMO Coordinator Jay Jenkins is in the process of coordinating volunteers, meeting with mutual aid partners, organizing community resources and rewriting the Disaster Plan using the previous document as a framework.
“The town had a Disaster Plan but we’re going full-bore at it to bring everything right up to provincial standards,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins has experience working as an EMO Coordinator and developing a Disaster Plan in his previous residence of Slocan Valley, B.C. He says some community members laughed at him, but five years ago when disaster struck, his plan was executed and brought positive results.
“It’s something that I’m quite passionate about,” he said. “The main thing is preservation of life and property.”
“We hope disaster never happens…but if it does we want to be prepared for it. We have to be prepared for any type of scenario in order to look after our people.”
Jenkins explained the EMO Committee and Disaster Plan comes into effect only when a state of emergency has been declared by town council, or when a situation becomes too great for the Fire Department or other services to mitigate independently.
Jenkins emphasized the ‘unique’ situation and possibility of a disaster in Grenfell with the Qu’Appelle Valley to the north, the Canadian Pacific Rail mainline downtown and the Trans-Canada Highway bordering the town’s edge.
EMO may respond to man-made disasters or natural disasters.
“This doesn’t take away from the Fire Department or any other municipal services,” Jenkins assured.
“This is coordinating everything and providing them with the support that they’re going to need.”
Jenkins attended the 16th Annual Sask. Emergency Planners Association Conference “Capacity Building in Public Safety” in March, and said it was an opportunity to learn from other communities. The Conference included table-top exercises and scenarios as well as presentations by EMO members which shared effective and ineffective practises in the execution of their disaster plans.
Jenkins hopes to have a preliminary draft of the Grenfell Disaster Plan complete within the upcoming weeks. The Plan will be available at the Town Office as reference to anyone who wishes to consult it.
The EMO Committee will also make some content of the Disaster Plan available to the community through print media distribution.
“We have to be prepared to look after ourselves,” said Jenkins. “It’s all about us looking after us.”
For more information or to become an EMO Committee volunteer contact Jenkins at 697-2823 or 697-7438.