Saanich rehearses emergency response to ammonia leak

Oct. 17 exercise includes fully-staffed emergency operations centre

Pearkes Recreation Centre will look like the hub of excitement in two weeks, when Saanich practices emergency response.

The District of Saanich conducts an emergency management exercise on Oct. 17 in a bid to enhance staff training and emergency plans.

“The exercise is a significant investment in Saanich’s emergency management and training program,” said Deputy Fire Chief Frank MacDonald. “This is an excellent opportunity for staff to practice their roles in assessing and responding to a simulated incident and for us to learn how we can improve our current emergency plans.”

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This complex training exercise is funded through $25,000 from the UBCM Community Emergency Preparedness Fund.

The exercise was coordinated over several months led by the Saanich Emergency Program. The Saanich Emergency Program supports municipal efforts to prepare for, respond to and recover from major emergencies and disasters.

The exercise begin with an ammonia incident at G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre at 8:30 a.m. followed by the establishment of a fully-staffed emergency operations centre and departmental operations centre at the Saanich Fire Department.

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Residents may notice signs of the exercise in Saanich throughout the day. The Saanich Command Vehicle will be at Pearkes to serve as the site incident command post. Saanich will also activate the emergency notification page on its website as a test. Volunteers will establish a Reception Centre which would support evacuees, at a church that has recently signed an agreement with Saanich to be used in an emergency.

Pearkes Recreation Centre will remain open to the public during the exercise Oct. 17.

The day-long exercise involve Saanich staff from a variety of departments and divisions, including the Fire Department; Saanich Police, Occupational Health and Safety; Parks and Recreation; Communications; and Saanich Emergency Program volunteers. Staff from external agencies such as Emergency Management BC, WorkSafe, CRD Hazmat, University of Victoria, BC Transit, and contractors are also participating in the exercise.

The execution of the ammonia exercise will inform the development of an exercise program for 2019 to 2021.

Visit for more information about the Saanich Emergency Program.

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