Community Stories:

Brazeau County: Emergency Preparedness – A Community Lens

The Brazeau County Healthy Communities Coalition vision is to build a healthy community where people are connected, supported, resilient and safe.

The coalition has an Emergency Preparedness subcommittee that was formed to address emergency preparedness through community awareness and education and by encouraging inclusive community planning and collaboration.

This collaborative team includes RCMP, Fire, Wild Rose School Division, Alberta Health Services (Health Promotion, Public Health Inspection and Addiction and Mental Health), the business sector, and the Municipalities of Drayton Valley, Brazeau County and Breton.

The Plan

Between 2016 and 2018, the team addressed Emergency Preparedness by hosting a workshop to engage the community and raise awareness. Presenters from the Alberta Emergency Management team and a survivor from the Fort McMurray fires presented on what was important to know during and emergency, how to be prepared and the importance of community planning and communication. Participants included interested business owners, school personnel, community members and services/agencies.  The team followed through with media campaigns stressing the importance of families and individuals in being prepared for when emergencies happen, follow-up letters to partners and school presentations for grades 4, 9 and 11. The team created a local pamphlet with information that was sent home with students that shared information on how to prepare a 72-hour emergency kit, how to make a family plan, knowledge of local risks and accurate communication channels and devices.

The Outcomes

Community feedback is critical to determine the efforts of any committee work. Through community engagement, conversations, and self-reflection, the team gathered feedback and began prioritizing action. The team decided they would focus on helping the community be even more prepared for a potential disaster such as fires, chemical spills, winter storms, and industrial incidents.

The group learned about the Psychosocial First Aid, which is the ability to prevent and manage post-trauma stress in survivors of disasters. This included the spectrum of support needed to properly handle disasters such as mental health, social services, finical assistance, and navigation as well as other post-disaster needs. Addressing the psychosocial needs in initial planning was determined to truly prepare their communities should disaster strike.






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