Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada – Nov.15th to 22nd, 2008. Trillium Emergency Response Exercise. The largest ever emergency and disaster response exercise held in Ontario by Ministry of Community Safety & Corrections. More than 1500 volunteers took part. The exercise scenario, which escalated throughout the week was an extreme ice storm striking Thunder Bay, plunging the city of over 100,000 at the northwestern tip of Lake Superior into chaos with hydro and communications blackouts and limited travel in the storm conditions. More than 20,000 residents were to have been in need of immediate emergency shelter, food, water and medical services.
Participants – Ministry of Health; EMO Emergency Management Office; O.P.P.; EMAT Emergency Medical Assistance Team; Salvation Army; Project417; Red Cross, St. Johns Ambulance, Thunder Bay Fire Dept and Police; HUSAR -Heavy Urban Search and Rescue; local and regional Fire and Rescue; Canadian Armed Forces and Reserve. Project417’s Andy Coats was invited as a volunteer with the Salvation Army’s Emergency & Disaster Services team providing mobile emergency meals and food services in their 30 foot emergency response vehicle and mobile canteen – CRV4, which we drove the 1,500 km to the city over a day and a half travel in bad winter weather and road conditions. (two Army Reserve trucks went off the icy road on the mountainous Lake Superior Hwy 17 route – the drivers and passengers had to be rescued and suffered non life threatening injuries). Myself and three other Salvation Army team members, lead by Incident Commander Jeff Noel, had just returned from Hurricane Ike disaster relief in Galveston County, Texas. Our team in Thunder Bay served over a thousand meals in five days to exercise staff and volunteers from two mobile canteens along with local Salvation Army staff, who prepared all the meals in their Booth Centre Homeless Men’s shelter.
The province of Ontario’s Ministry of Health EMAT unit, Emergency Medical Assistance Team, is a 56 bed fully equipped and volunteer staffed mobile hospital. It was flown in on the Canadian Force’s C-17 heavy transport. Also taking part was the EMO command and communication vehicle: Mobile One.
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