Emergency planning the big focus at regional SUMA meeting

Meadow Lake mayor Gary Vidal attends his first northwest regional SUMA meeting, held recently in Meadow Lake.

By Rhonda Cooper

Flooding in Saskatchewan and the devastating fire at Slave Lake, Alta. this year, prompted delegates of the north west SUMA region to make emergency planning their focus of the annual fall meeting held recently in Meadow Lake.

Regional director Ben Buhler chose to adopt a different format this time around.

“We decided to bring forth issues that would be applicable to many communities in the region,” he said. “Our spring meeting is dedicated to SUMA affairs and what it is currently involved with and we wanted to bring forward information on different topics to our membership.”

Buhler explained he had contacted a number of the region’s communities and received positive feedback in regards to offering the emergency measures topic at the Meadow Lake meeting.

“There are a number of communities who are not quite set in case of an emergency,” he said. “They now have the steps to follow to put a plan into place.”

“Those in municipal government are the ones people will look to when and if they are faced with an emergency situation,” added Buhler. “Some communities already have a plan in place while others have not yet looked at it.”

For Meadow Lake mayor Gary Vidal, this was his first SUMA meeting since being elected. He said he found the meeting to be very interesting and filled with valuable information.

With the bulk of the day centred around the Emergency Measures – 9 Step Program, a presentation by Carl Friske, Emergency Services Officer with Sask. Corrections, Public Safety and Policing, Vidal noted the knowledge gleaned from the presentation can now be used for reference when looking at the city’s current emergency plan.

“You can be well prepared but you need to make sure you have a plan that is actionable,” he said.

Sixty registered delegates representing 30 communities attended the meeting and organizers were pleased with the attendance numbers.

Buhler noted the northwest region is the most active as it always has a significant turnout, whereas others regions struggle to get 15 delegates to their meetings.

“It shows people care about their communities,” he said.

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