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EPW 2009 - Ice Storm Readiness

Laurissa Anyas-Weiss, content producer

May 3, 2010 — During the Ice Storm of 1998, Operation Recuperation saw over 16,000 Canadian Forces personnel deployed to help affected communities in Eastern Ontario weather the crisis.

Ten years later, Operation Trillium Response is a mock disaster organized by Emergency Measures Ontario and the Canadian Forces to test all levels of government and their ability to react to a weather disaster.

Operation Trillium Response involved the simulation of a wide spread ice storm to test all levels of government and confirm that they can effectively respond to a serious weather disaster.

The week long mock disaster took place in Northwestern Ontario in a relatively isolated location where resources had to be shipped by land and air. As part of the planned event, a building collapsed, people stranded in icy water had to be rescued, and emergency personnel had to deal with a fake bus crash.

Communication is a major issue during real disasters. For Operation Trillium Response there was no telecommunications available in the local community. A mobile communications unit had to be brought in to provide telephone and internet access via satellite.

Mock disasters such as Operation Trillium Response allow emergency response agencies the opportunity test their existing plans under real conditions. They learn from the experience and use that learning to continuously improve their emergency response and planning in preparation for the real disaster.

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