The Stettler Regional Emergency Management Agency (SREMA) that serves the County and Town of Stettler, launched the Emergency Operations Centre March 16, 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.
The agency has been working with partners at all levels to protect the health and safety of residents in the County and Town of Stettler.
We had a virtual interview with Lee Hardman, Director of Emergency Management for SREMA about the work that the agency has been doing related to COVID-19 and other areas.
Part of the mandate for Hardman’s role is developing and coordinating an overall regional program of emergency preparedness to respond to, and recover from, emergencies and disasters and assisting other municipalities to develop and maintain a high level of emergency preparedness. This includes working with various partners at the local, municipal and regional level such as the RCMP, Stettler Regional Fire Rescue, EMS and public health inspectors.
Hardman indicated that the majority of his time has been focused on COVID-19 this year. Typically, there is yearly emergency preparedness training for the staff, however, this has been delayed to 2021 due to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has been an ever-changing challenge and caught us all off guard. We didn’t think that something like this was going to happen but we were prepared to protect our community and activated our emergency operations centre back in March. There have been several meetings specific to COVID-19 in the region. We have held meetings with each regional partner over the last few months in regards to Covid and the Emergency Management program. The outcome has not resulted in any further restrictions in our region, we believe that the provincial restrictions have been adequate in keeping covid out of our community as much as possible. The County employs Peace Officers, and Peace Officers have been given authority to enforce the Public Health Act. Our Peace Officers work very closely with local Alberta Health Public Health Inspectors and RCMP for enforcement and public education" Lee Hardman, Director SREMA
During the pandemic, SREMA has provided support and resources to residents and business during the pandemic. There have been around 100 inquiries from residents and businesses combined that includes things such as groceries and household essential delivery, medication delivery and ongoing emergency management and restrictions for businesses.
SREMA is part of the Central Region All Hazards Incident Management Team (CRAHMIT) and recently participated in the first mock virtual training exercise in the province for a motor vehicle collision with toxic gases. This training, normally done in person, was conducted virtually with input and work from the members to conduct it safely and in compliance with the provincial restrictions. SREMA has six trained members that are part of the team that have been trained by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA).
While these restrictions are happening during the busiest time of the shopping season and impacting the economy and gatherings, the Province implemented the recent restrictions to protect the health of all residents and the tax on the health care system and front-line workers.
The Stettler Regional Emergency Management Agency efforts align with the directive of Alberta Health Services and the Province of Alberta. For current COVID-19 information please follow the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services.
Jody Craig, Reporter