Planned Emergency Response Exercise at Mount Allison proves to be valuable learning experience

Published on June 3, 2014

SACKVILLE, NB — A planned emergency response exercise was held on the Mount Allison University campus on Thursday, May 29.

Organized in partnership by the RCMP, Sackville Fire and Rescue, Mount Allison, the Town of Sackville, Ambulance New Brunswick, and the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, the planned exercise allowed University staff and emergency responders to respond to a simulated active threat on campus. Fire evacuation and lock-down procedures were also tested.

“This exercise met and surpassed our ultimate goal of interoperability,” says Cpl. Patricia Levesque with the Sackville RCMP.  “Without everyone involved, this would not have happened as smoothly as it did.”

Rob MacCormack, Mount Allison’s director of facilities management was onsite throughout the exercise. “We learned many lessons throughout this exercise, which will assist us in improving our own emergency preparedness, as well as working closely with our partners in the community and emergency services providers.”

Sackville Fire and Rescue chief Craig Bowser echoed this sentiment. “We learned a lot about what we would need and do differently in a real situation. It was a true success and we are very grateful to have the working relationship we do with all involved.”

“On behalf of the Town of Sackville, I would like to thank all those involved, as well as Town residents who were very cooperative and patient throughout the process,” says Jamie Burke, senior manager of corporate projects for the Town of Sackville. “This was a huge learning experience to witness this exercise take place.”

In addition to the actual planned emergency response exercise, which was held on campus the evening of May 29, the partnering organizations worked together for over eight months in the planning and preparation for the event. All groups were formally evaluated on their roles in the situation and a debriefing will be held in the coming weeks. From that, organizations will continue to work together and update and improve their individual policies and procedures accordingly, drawing on what they learned from the exercise.