At a meeting to discuss actions being taken to protect the Dock Area from flooding, residents were assured the fire department is working on how to proceed in case emergency action is needed.
Deputy Fire Chief Nick Ruller said his department is working with the Town operations staff on emergency measures if there is a breach of water, or a failure of infrastructure, such as hydro or sewers.
Although the end result could be a temporary evacuation of homes in the Dock Area, he said town staff are doing everything they can to put protective measures into place so that won’t be necessary.
Fire Chief Rob Grimwood is the Town’s community emergency management coordinator, Ruller the alternate, and both are responsible for developing the town’s emergency plan.
They can also draw on the Region’s emergency management department for support, said Ruller — that’s who they would contact if flooding continues and an evacuation is required for any of the residents.
“We have access to their full-time staff — they just deal with emergency management. They’re a phenomenal resource,” he said.
The regional staff have the ability to engage other organizations such the Red Cross, he added.
But what services might be needed would depend on the emergency, he said. Town staff are busy working on prevention, but an emergency situation could come about from flooding, wave action, or a critical infrastructure failure.
“Each one will come with an area of impact,” he said. “In all likelihood we’re not looking at evacuation. The Town is especially pro-active in looking at increasing water levels. We’re in a good position with the preparations that have been made so far and measures that have been put in place. I feel we’re very well-prepared.”
As problems come along, the Town staff is making decisions and taking the necessary next steps, he said.
“Evacuation is the last resort.”
Ruller said the fire department often becomes actively involved through a call from a resident who has a question and can’t find the answer. “They often call the fire department because they don’t know who else to call. We’re making sure our staff are aware of what’s going on and ensuring we’re not hampered by access issues.”
He said it’s important for the public to obey road traffic signs, road closures, and to stay back from the shoreline. There is a lot of risk involved in failing to do so, he said.
“I encourage people to be aware and try to avoid the shoreline and the flooded areas.”
Environmental supervisor Brett Ruck said staff is also working on notices to send out to residents, to ensure they have all the emergency phone numbers to call, and is putting in place an easy way to relay messages to residents in the event of an emergency.