The Kimberley Fire Department has been working on a new emergency program bylaw to improve plans for the preparation, response and recovery from emergencies and disasters.
Kimberley City Council gave first, second and third readings to the revised bylaw at a regular meeting on Monday, after hearing from Fire Chief Rick Prasad.
Prasad says that effective emergency planning requires coordination, resources and the support of Council.
“The previous bylaw that was in place – we weren’t aware of certain requirements including having Council as the executive committee and the requirement for an emergency program coordinator,” said Prasad. “We have a management committee that will recommend a plan to council eventually. It is one existing plan that covers fire, floods and other disasters [such as] landslides.”
He says that the program needs to be supported by Council because “a lot is at stake” in the event of a disaster or emergency.
One major change to the document will see the department responsible for communications to the community in the event of an emergency, like last summer’s evacuation alert during the wildfire season.
Prasad says this is a substantial change, pointing out that the Regional District of East Kootenay was previously the main point of communication, which was broader considering they are covering a much larger area.
“We want to be more in control of the messaging and seek assistance to do so. Communication is very important and our principle role in most cases,” said Prasad. He adds that the department has spoken with the RDEK and will come up with an agreement going forward to tackle communication within the municipality specifically.