Alberta Emergency Management makes presentation to Castor council

Alberta Emergency Management makes presentation to Castor council

Highlights how disaster aid works

By Kevin Sabo

For the Castor Advance

“In case of fire please leave the building before posting it on social media,” was a humorous takeaway on a serious issue at the last town council meeting.

John Lamb, the Alberta Emergency Management Field Officer for the Castor area, presented to Castor town council at their regular meeting on June 25. In his 30-minute presentation, he spoke on his and governments role to aid communities dealing with a disaster situation.

“We don’t want people to think ‘oh, the government is here to take over,’ we are only here to support you,” is one of the many issues that John presented to council. That support can take several forms, such as a Major Event Support Apparatus (MESA), or a field officer coming to the site in a support or aide role.

Another topic that he discussed was when the council should enact a State of Local Emergency (SOLE), and the reasons why a SOLE should be put in place sooner rather than later in a disaster situation. In a disaster, declaring a SOLE can bring some significant powers to the local government. Under the current Alberta Emergency Management Act, Section 24 states that “the local authority may do all acts and take all necessary proceedings” to resolve the State of Local Emergency.

For SOLE to be enacted it must be voted on by council, and the majority must agree. Upon activation of SOLE, the public must be notified along with the Provincial Operations Center in Edmonton. SOLE can remain in effect for up to seven days but may be extended at that point if the state of emergency still exists, or it can also be rescinded by council at any time.

The Alberta Emergency Management Act is currently being reviewed but as it is currently written, and along with the updated Municipal Government Act, the town has considerable support and authority to navigate any forthcoming disasters that may be thrown its direction.