All five county municipalities on board with emergency planning
PARRSBORO – Cumberland County’s four towns and its county municipality have all signed on to a regional emergency planning partnership.
Jim Hannon, co-ordinator of the county’s regional emergency measures organization (REMO), was on hand at a recent meeting of Parrsboro Town Council to obtain signatures from Mayor Lois Smith and councilors, and to provide an update on the progress of the agreement.
“It’s been quite a battle for the last 10 years, trying to get the rating of Cumberland County and all the municipalities up to a very high rating at the provincial level,” said Hannon. “The report card is coming in, so we’ve been doing a lot of work.”
Originally signed between the county and the towns of Oxford and Springhill, REMO has been a work in progress over the years, with Amherst and Parrsboro finally coming on board. Amherst signed on earlier in October.
“We’re getting tremendous support from the councils from all the municipalities, and with a little bit more work we can have everything right up to snuff,” he said.
Hannon is now developing a training strategy that he will be taking around to each municipality, making sure everyone who needs to be trained is trained.
While he commended emergency responders for doing their jobs well, he told mayor and council that, as representatives of the community, they must understand how the emergency responders operate, how other resources are brought in, and they must explain this to the people of Parrsboro.
“It’s very important, if you get a call in the middle of the night, things have to happen real quick, and you have to know what’s going on,” said Hannon. “You may not be directly involved in emergency response, but you have to know what your role is.”
He hopes to soon offer a training session for senior management and elected officials in Parrsboro, after a snowstorm prevented local representatives from attending one last winter. This session would not only be available to mayor and council, but also to CAO Ray Hickey, fire chief Randy Mosher, and possibly local police officers and public works staff.
Hannon is also looking at other training opportunities, and said he would prefer to offer it locally rather than sending people to places such as Halifax for it.
He has also been in touch with the Parrsboro Lions Club about setting them up with a generator to be available for auxiliary power.
Contingency planning for Parrsboro has been another priority. After spending time here last year performing risk hazard assessment, he put together separate contingency plans to be followed in the events of floods or forest fires. Copies of the plans have been left with mayor and council for their perusal and feedback.