On November 9, 2016, Halton Region and the Town of Milton staged a joint emergency exercise to evaluate their respective emergency response plans. The exercise included response and recovery activities related to a fictional tornado that damaged homes, businesses and community infrastructure in Milton.
“Testing our emergency preparedness strategies helps ensure that we are ready to respond,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We work with local partners to minimize the risks, coordinate response efforts and reduce the impact of emergency situations. By training, rehearsing and preparing together, we improve our ability to keep residents safe and increase the resilience of our entire community.”
The exercise engaged Town and Regional staff, as well as representatives from the Halton Regional Police Service, Halton Paramedic Services, Burlington Fire Department and Milton Fire Department. This collaboration provided a realistic image of how community agencies would work together in the event of a real emergency.
“We know the potential for weather-related emergencies is very real and it is important that we come together with local partners to practice our response,” said Milton Mayor Gord Krantz. “This emergency exercise serves as a reminder that we all need to be prepared for the unexpected.”
Exercise “Vortex” activated a wide range of resources and procedures established by the Region and Town to address emergency situations. Participants coordinated search and rescue, evacuation, temporary shelter and service restoration, directing simulated response workers to support residents affected by the tornado. Staff from all agencies identified strengths, challenges and areas for improvement immediately following the simulation.
Halton’s annual exercises simulate severe weather events and significant crises that could occur based on the community’s environmental features and hazards. Emergencies can happen anytime, and emergency preparedness is a joint responsibility—the Region reminds residents to plan today so they are protected tomorrow. To learn more personal emergency preparedness, visit halton.ca/beprepared.