Thunder Bay Trillium Emergency Response Exercise

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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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Ontario Stages Largest Ever Emergency Exercise

Andy Heads to Thunder Bay with Emergency Disaster Services Team

Before heading back to Texas with a small Project417 team to help with the Hurricane Ike recovery in San Leon, Galveston County, I have one stop to make – Thunder Bay in Northern Ontario. It’s almost as far north from Toronto as Texas is south. I’ll be driving one of the vans for the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services response team, including several members who also were in Texas last month. It should prove to be a challenging test of our disaster preparedness. Disaster teams helping with the exercise will include the Canadian Armed Forces, O.P.P., local police and fire-fighters, Red Cross, St. Johns Ambulance, Salvation Army, etc. We’ll be staying at the local armoury and primarily involved in food preparation and distribution to both emergency responders and the mock disaster victims. We leave Monday early for a 15 hour drive and return the next Monday, Nov. 24th.  See you then…with more photos. Here’s the news release.

TORONTO, Nov. 10 /CNW/ – NEWS
Ontario will test its ability to respond to a disaster by participating in the largest emergency response exercise held in recent history. Exercise Trillium Response will involve all levels of government and will
simulate a massive ice storm in the northwestern area of the province, similar in scope to the one that devastated eastern Ontario and Québec in 1998. The exercise will take place in Thunder Bay and area between November 17 and 23. More than 1,500 participants from the Ontario and Canadian government,
25 municipalities and three First Nations communities, the province of Manitoba and non-government organizations, will participate. A fleet of specialized equipment and tactical teams will be deployed…

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