The RMWB is adding a Director of Emergency Management.
The new position was approved by Wood Buffalo council on Tuesday as part of the new Emergency Management Bylaw.
This person will work alongside the Chief Administrative Officer and decide when the Regional Emergency Operations Centre would be activated and when a State of Local Emergency should be declared.
Regional Fire Chief Jody Butz tells Mix News the main purpose of the role will be to make emergency management is relevant throughout the year.
“We need a director during a response but what about the 99 per cent of the time we’re not in response – we need somebody to be a disaster risk manager, somebody consistently monitoring the level of risk in our region.”
Butz says the search is now on to fill the new position with no current timeline.
The goal is to have somebody who’s already experienced the response and recovery.
“There would probably be qualified people out there but we went through the largest natural disaster in Canadian history, that person, if they were from the outside, would have to be extraordinary to outdo what we’ve experienced and relate to the experiences we currently have.”
Before, the Fire Chief would also serve as the Director of Emergency Management. Butz adds the position should be full-time as the region needs somebody to focus directly on these circumstances.
Emergency Management Bylaw
The new emergency role falls under the new bylaw.
This document will now outline and clarify the roles and responsibility each position will have when a situation surfaces.
Butz says the bylaw highlight’s what needs to be done before an emergency situation happens.
“This bylaw focuses on planning, preparedness, mitigation, prevention, recovery – it really brings those things into focus.”
The CAO will be responsible for many tasks including overseeing the Director of Emergency Management, working together on REOC and States of Local Emergency, and approving the Emergency Management Plan – something Butz notes just needs to be signed off.
The CAO and Director aren’t directly in charge of declaring a SOLE as that job belongs to the Mayor. Afterwards, the Deputy or Acting Mayor will get to decide followed by the CAO if nobody else can be reached.
Council will also establish an Emergency Advisory Committee which the mayor and two councillors will sit on.
The purpose is to advise council on the Emergency Management Plan and other related plans and programs. The committee will also gather input from different stakeholder groups.
Indigenous leaders will be invited to join the EAC but will be non-voting members.