The Salvation Army participated in an emergency management exercise with other city and provincial emergency responder organizations on both sides of the Ottawa River at Pinhey’s Point, Ottawa and in Parc des Cèdres, Gatineau.
The Emergency Management Volunteers Rendez-Vous exercise was in preparation for a natural disaster in our community and gave the numerous organizations an opportunity to train together.
The exercise simulated a 6.5 magnitude earthquake which could affect our region. The participating groups used their resources and deployed air, land and marine teams to respond to volunteer victim casualties.
Ottawa City Councillor Eli El-Chantiry for West Carleton-March spoke from the heart to volunteers during the morning briefing as he thanked all the organizations involved.
“If I say I am among heroes, among people who walk towards trouble when everyone else is running away, believe me that’s an understatement,” said Councillor El-Chantiry. “We can’t thank you enough for all that you do especially for your commitment to working with the volunteers from the community. That was very important to us.”
The Salvation Army’s mobile canteen units were on-site at both locations serving coffee, water, chili and vegetables to over 300 volunteer from the various organizations. There were also granola bars and juices available as snacks.
“It’s so important that we are Emergency Ready! The Salvation Army brought teams out to not only support the exercise and feed the volunteers but to train as well. This is how we are able to identify opportunities to be better prepared and make some adjustments to the way we do things,” said Glenn van Gulik, Area Director for Public Relations.
The Ottawa canteen vehicle is capable of serving approximately 2500 meals a day to those affected by a disaster, volunteers and first responders when a real emergency should occur. In times of a real disaster, Salvation Army teams can be brought in from all over the province and even the country to assist when in need.
“We’ve had floods and tornadoes on both sides of the river. Working with our partners at this training exercise is so important,” said van Gulik. “Today we are working with the Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, Ontario Search and Rescue, the Canadian Coast Guard, Team Rubicon, Amateur Radio and other organizations all practicing together.”
Andrew Stanzel, an intensive care unit nurse in Ottawa, acted as co-director of the exercise.
“The Salvation Army’s support is vital. Their teams feed and fuel us for the day so that we can provide emergency service and good work to the community,” said Andrew. “When we were in the floods of 2019, The Salvation Army was there helping to support our volunteers.”
Michel Doré, the National Emergency Management Co-ordinator for St. John Ambulance shared “For me it’s important to have The Salvation Army on-site so people realize the breadth, scope and willingness of their volunteers to provide assistance. Disasters require capabilities beyond what one organization can handle. We have a saying – Alone we can go faster but together we can go further.”
For over 100 years, our Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services teams serve whenever there is hardship, natural or man made disasters, or other emergency. Our assistance is long-term – through the critical disaster phase to recovery, and long after, helping to rebuild lives.