FREDERICTON (GNB) – A provincewide emergency preparedness exercise is being planned for June 2018 in New Brunswick.

Called Brunswick Alpha 2018, the one-day exercise will give communities, municipalities and local service districts an opportunity to practise their respective roles during an emergency event.

All New Brunswick municipalities are being invited to participate and take advantage of this learning opportunity in emergency response planning.

“Exercising and validating local plans is a critical component of community preparedness,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry. “As recommended in the 2017 Ice Storm Review, municipalities of all sizes must make their responsibilities associated with emergency planning a higher priority. They must ensure emergency plans are current and that staff responsible for the implementation of plans are ready to respond.”

The exercise is being organized by the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization in partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces, through Joint Task Force Atlantic.

“Joint Task Force Atlantic is proud to work in partnership with New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization to design and execute a training exercise focused on domestic emergency preparedness,” said Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander Joint Task Force Atlantic. “Helping each other to exercise our respective emergency response plans ensures partner organizations maintain the capacity and the currency to respond with the right resources at the right time, which means putting our fellow Canadians’ safety first in times of need.”

The exercise scenario will revolve around a progressive severe weather event unfolding across the province. Advanced weather reporting, simulated social media, and web-based news reporting will add to the realism of the experience.

Brunswick Alpha 2018 will be designed to allow municipal staff involved in emergency management to practise planned responses and other procedures at any level at which they choose to participate, from simple to complex.

“We are pleased to see this exercise taking place in New Brunswick for the benefit of all municipalities, regions and their residents,” said Shelley Morton, president of the Association of Municipal Administrators of New Brunswick. “We certainly support this important initiative to ensure we are all ready to face any emergency situation that could occur in our province in the future.”

Representatives of participating municipalities and local service districts will also be invited to participate in the planning of the exercise during several planning conferences over the coming months.

“We are making every effort to promote preparedness among residents and municipalities,” said Greg MacCallum, director of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. “While emergencies cannot always be avoided, we can help to lessen the impact by being as prepared as possible. We encourage all municipalities to participate in this important exercise.”

The Emergency Measures Organization co-ordinates preparedness for emergencies, working at provincial, regional and municipal levels to ensure communities are protected during all phases of an emergency. It also co-ordinates provincial response operations during emergencies and administers disaster financial assistance programs during recovery.