Mock emergency takes place in Advocate

Evacuation of Chignecto Manor residents simulated

Andrew Wagstaff
Published on June 5, 2014

ADVOCATE HARBOUR – A forest fire burning for a third straight day here caused the evacuation of the 14 residents at the Chignecto Manor long-term care home to nearby Bayview Memorial Health Centre.
No, not really, but that is what they practiced.

The mock emergency was a part of the planning process at Chignecto Manor, and was being overseen by officials from the Cumberland County emergency measures organization (EMO) and the Cumberland Health Authority.

“It’s a great way for emergency management to meet all the people in the community, and get involved with their planning,” said EMO co-ordinator Jim Hannon. “We don’t do the plans for them; they do their plan. We just assist them with their exercises.”

The scenario of the forest fire dictated an evacuation because Chignecto Manor is not equipped with air handling units to deal with the thick smoke, so community volunteers posing as residents were “evacuated” from the building, and transported to Bayview, as a holding area.

Because resources such as the fire department and ambulances were limited due to the simulated fire, the manor’s plan called for a list of community volunteers to be called for assistance in transportation with their personal vehicles.

“We’re testing the response of the community,” said Hannon.

While a final report on the exercise was not yet available, the event seemed to move along with few hitches.

The training exercise involved 14 volunteers posing as residents, several more driving vehicles, staff at both Chignecto Manor and Bayview, and five observers from EMO and the health authority, including Hannon and his assistant Mike Johnson.

Twitter: @ADNandrew