York Region hosts conference on disaster preparedness
NEWMARKET - The crucial first six hours of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) disaster will be the focus of a conference for senior staff of police, fire, emergency medical services and public health departments from across Ontario, to be held in Richmond Hill on February 23rd and 24th.
The CBRN Conference 2005 is hosted by York Region Emergency Medical Services with the support of the Emergency Health Services Branch of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The conference is designed to enhance the preparedness and response capacity of Ontario communities should a disastrous CBRN event occur.
"It is an honour for York Region to be chosen to host this event," said Bill Fisch, York Regional Chair and CEO. "The conference is a great learning opportunity for senior members of first response teams from across Ontario."
The keynote speech will be delivered by Major-General (Retired) Lewis MacKenzie, who will discuss scenarios for CBRN events in Canada and the benefits of operating under a unified command.
"We encourage participants to become engaged whole-heartedly in the discussions," said Jim Brownell, Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh MPP and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long Term Care (Responsible for Public Health). "Being ready requires talking and planning together so first response agencies can act in a coordinated, if not cohesive, manner."
"We will focus on operational issues related to the first six hours of a disastrous event," said Brad Meekin, General Manager, York Region Emergency Medical Services. "Meeting the needs of our communities requires first responders to count on each other, which takes planning and working together."
Nearly 400 emergency responders from across Ontario are expected to attend. Participants will explore operational issues, including the importance of unified command, and engage in expert panel discussions, interactive sessions and framework presentations.
CBRN incidents may include unpredictable and unwelcome events such as propane explosions, chemical and nuclear spills or anthrax events.
February 22, 2005 For Immediate Release
CBRN Conference 2005
February 23 and 24, 2005
Sheraton Parkway North Hotel and Convention Centre
600 Highway 7 East
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Media are invited to attend the following portions of the conference:
Wednesday, February 23rd
Opening ceremonies, Grand York Ballroom 9:00 – 10:30 am
• Keynote address: Major-General (Retired) Lewis MacKenzie
• Topic: scenarios for CBRN events in Canada and the benefits of operating under a unified command Approximately 9:30 am
Media tour of mobile command units in the Parking lot Immediately following keynote address at approximately 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, February 24th
• Keynote address: Bob Bruder, Director of Risk Management in Eastern Canada for CN Rail
• Topic: Mitigating risk in the private sector 9:00 – 9:45 a.m.
• Keynote address: Dr. Chris Mazza, CEO of the Ontario Air Ambulance Base Hospital Program
• Topic: Challenges faced by emergency medical assistance teams when preparing for disasters 1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
• Closing keynote address: Staff Sergeant John Bureaux, Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the Canadian Bomb Data Center and Lead of the National CBRN Response Team
• Topic: National CBRN Issues. 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Workshop attendance is on an invitation-only basis.
Interviews can be arranged on request. Please register at the Media table to obtain your media kit and request interviews with key spokespeople.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca
Contact: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications, York Region
(905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1238