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Emergency preparedness alliance to end

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The C.a.S.H. emergency management board will break up on Dec. 31 after about 10 years of operation.

Representatives from the RMs of Cartier, Headingley and St. Francois Xavier form the board, and each municipality contributes financially toward joint emergency preparedness planning.

While municipalities are generally responsible for responding to emergencies such as wildfires, severe storms and chemical spills, under this alliance, a co-ordinator and assistant co-ordinator employed by C.a.S.H. head a team of volunteers from the three municipalities. The municipalities, co-ordinators and volunteers follow an emergency measures plan which has been approved by the provincial Emergency Measures Office.

The co-ordinators recruit volunteers and arrange for emergency preparedness training.

According to C.a.S.H. board members, the dissolution was precipitated by the RM of Cartier’s recent request to withdraw from the group.

RM of Cartier council passed a unanimous resolution to withdraw on July 22 and it was presented to the C.a.S.H. management board on Aug. 22.

Cartier CAO Anne Burns said council’s decision was based on the size of the municipality and its history of dealing with natural disasters, including the tornado in 2007 and severe flooding in 2011. She said the RM felt it can handle emergencies on its own.

They plan to hire their own emergency planning co-ordinator in the new year, and will follow the emergency preparedness plan for the municipality which was approved by the provincial Emergency Measures Office.

"It’s disappointing that they’ve chosen to withdraw from the organization," said RM of Headingley CAO and C.a.S.H. board member Chris Fulsher.

Any one of the three municipal members has the right to withdraw from the group, but must provide a year’s notice.

RM of St. Francois Xavier reeve Roger Poitras said his municipality will also hire a co-ordinator, but added, "it’s going to cost us more going forward."

He said, through working with the two other municipalities, the total population was between 7,000 and 8,000 people, which meant more potential volunteers in an emergency. However, he feels that his municipality is in good shape because of the number of local residents who have already received emergency preparedness training.

"We have a good core of volunteers here," said Poitras.

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