Pickering holds annual emergency planning meeting

A tornado has touched down in Pickering.  This was the focus of the mock emergency planning meeting held recently by city officials.  Chief Administrative Officer Tony Prevedel called the meeting “a huge success”.

The Emergency Operations Centre drill was organized by Prevedel in tandem with Pickering fire and law enforcement officials.  During the meeting, a mock scenario was run in which Pickering was the site of a tornado.  Hypothetical incidents were considered (infrastructural damage, road closures, medical emergencies) and emergency service officials would “organize” emergency medical transports, police, and fire response in order to maintain the situation as it developed.

“We improve every year, as expected.  Our response times get quicker, more efficient, and ultimately we become more and more ready for when an emergency actually does occur,” Prevedel said.

The most recent instance of a legitimate Emergency Operations Centre being set up was during the ice storm that hit Ontario in 2013, according to Prevedel.  During this time, a state of emergency was not declared, however it did have officials organizing crews to help citizens with getting through the dangerous road conditions.

As the drill went on, information was released to a gathering of mock media by Deputy Fire Chief Jason Yoshida, who provided “updates” on the situation’s development regarding additional road closures, potential evacuations, and risks faced by emergency crews as complications occurred.

The meeting concluded with Yoshida announcing that the situation was under control and that the worst of the damage had already occurred, citizens affected by the incident being brought to safer locations, and damaged roadways blocked off by police.