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Eric Bussey, emergency measures co-ordinator with MACA, and Sgt. Bruce MacGregor of Yellowknife RCMP will work in the emergency operations centre. - Dorothy Westerman/NNSL photo

Emergency operations centre is ready

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 18/05) - An integrated, emergency operations centre has been announced by the federal government for Yellowknife.

The centre, to be located in the G Division RCMP detachment, will respond to security threats and natural disasters, said Shawn Dearn, a spokesperson with Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in Ottawa.

"What we are looking at is having one employee stationed up there as a regional director. That person would end up dealing with their counterparts throughout the Northern region.

"They will be working with emergency management offices in the three territories," Dearn said.

The move will integrate emergency management functions of MACA and the Yellowknife RCMP's G Division.

Dearn said historically, much of the emergency operations centre work was done in Alberta and a need was identified to have such a resource located in the North.

"So what this does for us is to be able to have more frequent meetings and to share information more easily instead of relying on outside resources."

Eric Bussey, territorial emergency measures coordinator with MACA, said the work the RCMP does is defined as crisis management, while MACA does consequence management.

"In many cases, those two functions are inter-related," Bussey said.

"This integration will allow the RCMP and EMO to work more effectively together. We still have the same jobs but we will co-locate and do our jobs more efficiently," Bussey said.

Sgt. Bruce MacGregor of the Yellowknife RCMP will also be part of the operations.

Currently he is emergency planner for G Division and although his office location will change, his duties will not.

"It will make the whole response approach a much more effective matter and will provide a better service to the people we are assisting," MacGregor said.

Yellowknife Mayor Gord Van Tighem said the system is for large-scale emergencies such as evacuating towns or for forest fires.

"It's an offshoot from the emergency measures group that used to be in MACA, except one notch up," Van Tighem said of the service.

"It's important to have, especially with the territory we cover."

Canada's National Security policy calls for a more integrated national emergency management system, said MACA Minister Michael McLeod. "We should be in a position to deal with any type of emergency, whether it is fire, flood or terrorist attack."