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Red Deer looking to partner on disaster response with seven surrounding municipalities

A large-scale catastrophe would necessitate a more co-ordinated approach

The City of Red Deer is looking at striking an official partnership with seven surrounding communities in responding to large-scale disasters.

On Monday, Red Deer city council will discuss formalizing a Red Deer Regional Emergency Management Partnership between the city and Red Deer County, Bowden, Delburne, Elnora, Innisfail, Penhold and Sylvan Lake.

A report to council states that the city’s already works co-operative with surrounding communities to assist during catastrophies, like tornadoes, windstorms, floods, etc.

But city administration feels it’s timely to formalize an agreement since a far-reaching emergency or disaster could overwhelm the services of just one municipality, requiring help from nearby communities, sometimes sparking a competition for resources.

The report states that having an official agreement with local authorities within Red Deer County will help with coordinating emergency management plans, deploying trained personnel, for training and exercise programs, or streamlining administration.

City of Red Deer staff are recommending the move based on the guidance of the Alberta Management Agency and a resolution from the city’s Emergency Advisory Committee.

At Monday’s regular City Council will discuss giving first reading to amending the Emergency Management Bylaw to establish a mutual aid agreement. By establishing a regional protocol, the eight municipalities can work together to establish shared priorities and deploy resources in a coordinated effort, ensuring public safety throughout the region with no competition.

It “strengthens our region as a whole when, and if, a wide-scale emergency were to occur,” said Carol Lind, emergency management coordinator for the City of Red Deer. “This (is)… not just benefiting citizens of Red Deer, but all citizens within the region.”

The partnership will require all participants to pass their own bylaw amendments to endorse the Red Deer Regional Emergency Management Partnership Agreement. The goal is to have it in place by this summer.