INNISFAIL – More than 100 Innisfailians eagerly attended a big open house and barbecue at the local fire hall on May 3 to learn a thing or two about being prepared.
Most specifically and importantly, the aim of the invite was to learn how to be prepared in an emergency.
From May 1 to 7 it was Emergency Preparedness Week across Canada; an annual celebration that has run for more than 25 years to encourage Canadians to take informed actions to be better prepared to protect themselves and their families during emergencies. The week was also recognized in other local communities, including Olds.
This year’s theme was “Emergency Preparedness: Be Ready for Anything.”
“With the weather we’ve had in the past it’s important for residents to be prepared for an emergency. It can happen in a blink of an eye, things change,” said mayor Jean Barclay, who attended the open house with councillors Dale Dunham, Gavin Bates, Cindy Messaros and Jason “Heistad. “I always think it’s a wonderful opportunity for community events for people to come down and meet our emergency management team.
“It’s also a great opportunity to learn more about how to be prepared,” added the mayor.
Gary Leith, the town’s manager of fire and protective services, said he considered the event a success, noting the past few years of trial with COVID and the large number of citizens who came for the barbecue.
“We went through 150 burgers and that is without counting the hot dogs, so yes, I would say we fed in excess of 100 people, which is good. It was well supported by the community,” said Leith, adding the mayor and participating members of council enthusiastically agreed to staff the barbecue. “I was surprised and it was good to get the opportunity to interact with the community.”
Leith said a field officer from the provincial Alberta Emergency Management Agency, which leads the coordination and co-operation of all organizations involved in emergencies and disasters, attended with mobile command units for a “show and tell” presentation.
He added Innisfail RCMP and members of the Innisfail Fire Department were also on hand to display their vehicles and equipment.
Attendees were also given a presentation on the benefits of having a 72-hour self-sufficiency emergency kits.
“We went out and bought 25 of those items,” said Leith of the kits. He said each of the 25 kits also included a list of equipment and emergency contact numbers to supplement the kit. Leith added the kits were given away to attendees.
“I think citizens should feel very confident knowing Innisfail has a very comprehensive emergency management plan in place, which manager Gary Leith heads up,” said Barclay. “I think we are prepared in the manner of citizens being prepared.”
Barclay added citizens can always call the town office for additional information on emergency preparedness.