May 29, 2002

York Region conducts emergency exercise with Town of Newmarket and GO Transit

NEWMARKET The Regional Municipality of York, together with the Town of Newmarket and GO Transit, today successfully completed Exercise Timothy, a mock emergency disaster.

The exercise involved a simulated collision between a GO Transit train and a tanker truck at the Timothy Street intersection in downtown Newmarket. The exercise was developed to test Town of Newmarket, York Region and GO's preparedness plans for a mass casualty emergency. A key priority was to strengthen the capacity to provide a co-ordinated response to future emergency situations.

"Exercise Timothy is the first test of mass casualty ever conducted by the Region, and is a major part of a program to educate our employees and evaluate our emergency plans," said Bill Fisch, Regional Chair and CEO. "I am pleased with the staff response I witnessed today, and look forward to reviewing the results of Exercise Timothy."

York Region has a comprehensive Regional emergency plan in place to deal with any major emergency. The Region is equipped to play a pivotal role in supporting emergency response services among its nine area municipalities.

"The Town of Newmarket has an effective emergency response system in place," said Newmarket Mayor Tom Taylor. "We have well-trained personnel who have practised and tested the roll-out of the emergency response plan. The Town of Newmarket, co-operatively with partner response agencies, is prepared to effectively manage a crisis and minimize its impact on people and our community as a whole."

"It's important to hold this kind of exercise to better prepare for a real emergency," said Gary McNeil, Managing Director, GO Transit. "What we learn from such a large exercise will make everyone more confident in dealing with situations of any size."

A full report on Exercise Timothy will be completed over the next month. The report will identify strengths and deficiencies in emergency planning, and will determine where improvements can be made.

Participants in the simulated emergency planning exercise included GO Transit, Central York Fire Services, York Regional Police, York Region Emergency Medical Services, York Region Transit, York Region Health Services and Community Services & Housing departments, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and the York Region Red Cross Society. Volunteers from Canadian Forces Base Borden also played a key role in the exercise.

York Region has produced an Emergency Preparedness Guidebook, which offers 32 pages of in-depth advice on how to plan for an emergency, how to safeguard your home, how to survive specific disasters, and how to cope with the physical and emotional reactions in a traumatic event.

The Emergency Preparedness Guidebook is available free of charge in person from the Information Kiosk at the York Region Administrative Centre at 17250 Yonge Street in Newmarket, or by visiting the York Region Web site at

The Town of Newmarket also maintains an active Emergency Plan that incorporates York Region and Emergency Measures Ontario programs. The Town of Newmarket's Emergency Plan would be implemented in the event of a local large-scale emergency. A copy of the plan can be found on the Town of Newmarket's Web site at

For more information on Exercise Timothy, including a Backgrounder on the exercise and a Fact Sheet on York Region's Emergency Measures Program, please click here.

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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