By Amy Woolvett
To do the kind of job Robert Stewart has recently signed on for, he needs to have a cool head in the face of pressure, be able to organize entire communities during a crisis and have all the answers.
Stewart has officially been hired as the eastern Shelburne County emergency management officer (EMO).
Stewart moved to the area from Bridgewater a year ago.
Stewart worked at Michelin, was a firefighter in Oak Hill, a hockey coach and currently works at the Shelburne lock-up facility.
“It all intertwines to help me prepare for the position,” said Stewart. “It’s life experiences that prepared me for the job.”
The EMO aims to ensure the safety and security of the people, their property and the environment by providing a prompt and coordinated response to an emergency.
Stewart said 75 percent of most emergencies are weather related.
With rising sea levels that number is expected to increase over time as more extreme weather systems are seen.
“We can’t stop emergencies like that from happening but it is my job to make sure that when it does happen everyone is prepared,” he said.
The EMO provides assistance in planning for an emergency, coordinates resources when an emergency occurs and evaluates the plans after an emergency occurs.
He coordinates with the appropriate services including RCMP, fire, search and rescue, municipal council, EHS, Coast Guard and the Red Cross just to name a few.
He took over the position from Don Bower, longtime EMO for the area.
“There is a lot of training with this job,” said Stewart. But while he learns all the ins and outs of the position, he continues to keep a cool, level head …it's what he does best.