Cooperation Improves Hazardous Materials Response

first_img Nova Scotians now have better protection when there is anemergency involving hazardous materials. A federal-provincial-municipal co-operative effort has created a network of sixspecially trained and equipped teams. Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash says the effortbegan with two provincial departments. “The Office of the FireMarshal and the Emergency Measures Organization found that therewas an opportunity to expand our capabilities.” Ernest Fage, Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act,agreed saying: “We were able to gain access to funding and,because both departments have close relationships with localemergency responders, we were able to help them develop asustainable hazardous materials response system.” The program has seen about $600,000 worth of equipment eitherdistributed among first responders, like police and firefighters,or pre-positioned at provincial storage facilities. Firstresponders have also received additional training. “The idea is to ensure that the right equipment is readilyaccessible anywhere in Nova Scotia, and that there are properlytrained people available to operate it,” Mr. Fage said. “Our close relationship with the Nova Scotia Firefighters’ Schoolhas allowed us to help them to develop the training localfirefighters need to respond to these incidents,” said Mr.Morash. Funding for the project was made available through the JointEmergency Preparedness Program administered through Public Safetyand Emergency Preparedness Canada. “It’s through thecollaborative efforts of first responders, municipalities,provinces and the federal government that we are building ourcapacity to ensure the safety of Canadians,” said Anne McLellan,the deputy prime minister and Minister of Public Safety andEmergency Preparedness Canada. The federal funding for this project was committed in federalbudget 2001, which provided $10 million to help provinces andterritories to enhance their response capacity. Approved projectsreceived 75 per cent of funding through the government of Canadaand 25 per cent through provincial contribution. The Joint Emergency Preparedness Program was established toimprove Canada’s ability to respond a broad range of emergencies,including biological and chemical weapons. “It’s important toremember that there are many emergencies involving dangerousmaterials for which we must be prepared,” said Mr. Fage. Mr. Morash used as examples a recent ammonia leak in Oxford and atrain derailment in Pictou County. “We saw local responders workclosely with staff from each of our departments to put thisequipment to efficient and effective use.” The hazardous materials response teams are located in Halifax andCape Breton regional municipalities, Bible Hill, Kentville,Yarmouth and Amherst. The two ministers visited a display of someof the equipment today, May 5, in Halifax. ENVIRONMENT/LABOUR–Co-operation Improves Hazardous MaterialsResponselast_img read more