KINGS COUNTY – Kings County is moving forward with a coordinated strategy for responding to emergency and disaster situations on a regional level.
Kentville, Berwick, Kings County and now Wolfville have each signed on again for the Regional Emergency Measures Organization, which will see Dan Stovel as its new coordinator starting April 1, 2018.
The organization’s aim is to not only use a regional approach at minimizing the impact of a disaster on citizens, preserving safety and health and keeping essential services flowing, but also reach out to community members to get them thinking ahead of time on how to best prepare, and what resources to watch for.
“We’re looking at sending releases out in April for the hurricane season, for example,” he said.
Not just the big disasters
The name is one people in the area may recognize – this is because the REMO initiative was first organized in 2006, when the four municipal bodies first signed on.
After things failed to move forward, emergency planning stuck to a municipal level, until the matter was brought forward again at a November meeting of mayors and chief accounting officers.
Outreach methods are still in the works until the coordinating position officially launches in April. Until his new appointment, Stovel will continue working as the emergency response coordinator for Wolfville, a job he’s held since 2014.
This position is not just for addressing high profile hurricanes, winter storms and floods, according to the soon-to-be coordinator.
“Large community gatherings, from music festivals to community events like 2015’s Rogers Hockey Hometown held in Wolfville, each have contingency plans – things like shelters and evacuation routes – in place to use should an emergency occur,” he said.
Outreach key to new strategy
Potential disasters, such as rising sea levels and ocean-side communities like Halls Harbour, are other areas of focus for the organization.
Stovel will continue working with the province’s Emergency Management Office and meeting with other regional coordinators as April approaches.
Outreach strategies like releases, town hall meetings and a new website will be announced in April as Stovel starts his work at the regional level.
“It’s really about that regional, collaborative approach, and that’s what this will bring to the table,” he said.