As part of our Emergency Response Plan, the University has a Pandemic Planning Committee chaired by the Vice-President Administration with representation from various sectors of the University community. This committee is charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing the pandemic plan and taking recommendations to the University Administration for consideration as appropriate. This September marks a decade of emergency response for a special team of Canadian Red Cross volunteers in Nova Scotia. From an initial dozen, the team has grown into a diverse group of 120 volunteers from the Halifax area who now make up more than a quarter of the 400 dedicated disaster response volunteers in the province. The ERT serves a large urban area and has contributed more than 36,000 hours over the past ten years responding to emergencies such as forest fires, apartment and house fires, and other emergencies. The team recently celebrated its Prix d’Excellence Award for 2013, awarded by the Canadian Red Cross.  The award recognizes volunteers’ outstanding and innovative accomplishments in service delivery. I’ve held several volunteer positions during my lifetime, and nothing I’ve done outside my family circle can compare to the enormous level of personal satisfaction I’ve gained from my work with Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Team.
The Provincial Operations Centre, staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is responsible for coordinating the initial response and support for natural or human-caused disasters. Albertaa€™s emergency response experts will be put to the test over the next two days as a simulated ice storm sweeps across the province, bringing mass casualties, derailments, collapsing buildings and power outages.
The emergency management exercise, aimed at  testing the governmenta€™s response to potential disasters, is held annually but this yeara€™s will be the largest and most complex yet, said Municpal Affairs Minister Diana McQueen. The mock ice storm will be held as a live exercise in Thorhild, 80 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, as well as a virtual exercise in eight other Alberta communities.
More than 100 members of Albertaa€™s all-hazards disaster response team, known as Canada Task Force 2 will be deployed in Thorhild, she said. Representatives from all levels of government, First Nations, industry, and emergency management agencies will also participate. Members of the Cape Breton Regional Police emergency response team stand on guard outside the Cape Breton University Art Gallery in the Great Hall on Monday for a mock emergency exercise. Members of the Cape Breton Regional Police emergency response team arrive outside the Student Culture and Heritage Centre at Cape Breton University on Monday for a mock emergency exercise.
Members of the Cape Breton Regional Police emergency response team stand guard inside the Student Culture and Heritage Centre at Cape Breton University on Monday for a mock emergency exercise.

Members of the Cape Breton Regional Police emergency response team work their way through the Student Culture and Heritage Centre at Cape Breton University on Monday for a mock emergency exercise. SYDNEY — Cape Breton University’s student union president continued to criticize administration Monday over its handling of an alleged weapon threat last month, even as the university began filming a mock police emergency exercise. The student council unanimously passed a motion of non-confidence in administration a couple of weeks ago over the lockdown, which occurred Oct.
Despite expressing concerns to the university’s senate Friday, he said, administrators still haven’t addressed the students’ questions.
In fact, the parent of a student called him Monday morning to express concerns about campus safety in the wake of the lockdown, he said. The student union will seek input from faculty and administrators, Ellis said, and a report is expected to be ready for presentation to administration in two to three months. Cape Breton Regional Police responded to a call from campus security that day but were unable to find a suspect or a weapon. That day, several students told The Chronicle Herald they felt university faculty were as unprepared as students during the lockdown.
They also said the campus alert system, which provides text messages or emails to students, faculty and staff, was ineffective.
Given the almost-immediate concerns raised by students and the continuing controversy over the way the university dealt with the lockdown, it’s strange that staff and students were only given a few hours’ notice by email of a mock emergency exercise being conducted Monday morning, said the student union president. Denise Campbell, manager of campus safety and security, said Monday’s mock exercise was not a direct reaction to the October lockdown.
The video is just one part of a larger plan to promote security to staff, students and the public, Campbell said. During the exercise, several members of the police emergency response team were filmed entering and moving along the Great Hall and checking adjoining hallways. Students and staff were sent an email alert earlier Monday about the mock exercise, which was limited to the Great Hall, and signs were erected at the entrances to the Student, Culture and Heritage Centre, where the hall is located, said Campbell. The university has prepared a PowerPoint presentation on procedures that will be posted to the facility’s website shortly, she said, and a video using footage from the mock exercise will be posted online in a couple of weeks.
The video will also be shown to faculty and will also be available for training sessions, said Campbell.

A public address system is also being installed throughout the university, and the campus alert system is being modified to improve the types of messages sent and the timeliness of delivery. A new alert system has also been installed on all desktop computers in classrooms and labs, and administrators are planning a series of drills to better prepare students and staff in case of a future lockdown, she said. We regularly update and exercise our Emergency Response Plan and work closely with EMO Nova Scotia (Emergency Management Office) to certify and train our staff in emergency preparedness and response.
While Red Cross volunteers did respond to emergencies for decades prior to this, the Central District Emergency Response Team (ERT) as we know it today was established as a result of Hurricane Juan in 2003. Members of the team also help promote disaster preparedness in their community, take part in events, and training exercises. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever.
CBU was filming the exercise for a video on lockdown procedures to be used in training students and staff on what to do in an emergency. 29, and on Friday, the student union struck a committee to investigate and provide recommendations, said president Brandon Ellis. 29 for more than two hours after campus security discovered an anonymous message posted on Yik Yak, a social media application, in which someone threatened to show up with a gun. Bernard, 23, of Eskasoni was arrested four days later and is due to appear in Sydney provincial court Dec.7 on charges of uttering a threat and mischief. Many posted messages on various social media saying they didn’t know whether to stay or leave. We also collaborate with the Town of Wolfville Emergency Response Team and the Kings County Regional Emergency Management Organization . The hurricane caused significant damage in the province and highlighted the need for the Red Cross to increase its volunteer base and capacity to respond. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.

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