P.E.I. communities prepared for emergencies: MacDougall

Dave Stewart
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Bruce MacDougall, president of the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities, says Island communities are prepared to deal with emergencies.

Municipalities federation president says plans in place for events like post tropical storm Arthur

The president of the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities says Island communities are prepared to deal with emergencies.

Bruce MacDougall says municipalities do have plans in place to deal with weather events such as Arthur, the post-tropical storm that hit the Island last weekend.

A tourism operator on the north shore and more than one tenter complained that the province’s Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) didn’t open shelters on Saturday for tenters, many of whom sought shelter in their vehicles or at Charlottetown hotels.

“Many of them do have plans in place,’’ MacDougall said, “but it starts with the individual, whether that’s a campground or another business. Everybody should be prepared for some kind of emergency.’’

He said if a situation escalates to the point where individuals, such as campgrounds, can’t handle it they reach out to municipalities, as is normal procedure set out by the province’s EMO.

“Once it gets beyond their scope then, yes, they probably would reach out to the municipality and the municipality has a plan in place that would go into action.’’

If the municipality feels its beyond its ability to respond, they would contact EMO.

Tourism Minister Robert Henderson said Tuesday that safety information was distributed from the Office of Public Safety to all campgrounds so it could be shared with guests. Refunds were also available at provincially-owned campgrounds. Campers would also have been directed to visitor information centres where staff would have helped them with finding fixed-roof accommodations.

Stratford-Kinlock MLA James Aylward, Opposition critic for tourism, says he doesn’t agree with leaving the responsibility to individuals.

“I could not imagine being in a trailer, let alone a tent (during Arthur),’’ Aylward said.

The Opposition critic says public service announcements, such as one carrying an emergency number could have been displayed for tourists coming over on the Confederation Bridge.

“There’s an electronic message board as you come across the Confederation Bridge where they would have had an opportunity to flash a message to travellers warning them of (the impending storm). At least advise them of an emergency telephone number or a website to visit.’’

Aylward says the province needs to do a better job in these circumstances communicating this type of information to tourists.

The Canadian Red Cross does have a number that accepts emergency calls 24 hours a day at 1-800-222-9597. The service is designed to link people up with volunteers in that province and is available in English and French.

 

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Emergency Measures Organization, Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities, Office of Public Safety

Geographic location: Iceland, Charlottetown

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  • Marty Lunde
    July 11, 2014 - 04:56

    We have had worse storms in the winter and never had shelters open, why?..........because people have the caution of to stay in when it is bad enough, so why would anyone throw that same caution out the window because it is a summer storm?

  • no sympathy
    July 10, 2014 - 11:44

    those who chose to ignore the multitude of severe weather warnings for last weekend don't deserve the right to complain about having to camp in such adverse circumstances as they knowingly brought that on themselves. Sadly, their stupidity and irresponsibility could have ended up costing our government some $$$ to run EOC and provide shelters... thankfully it didn't have to come to that.

  • apples
    July 10, 2014 - 10:54

    Why didn't EMO step in and cancel the musical early in the morning instead of having the campers hanging around until the storm hit . GREED.

    • huh
      July 10, 2014 - 15:49

      Of course folks like you would immediately think that. Consider: you have major entertainers flying in at great expense, sold licenses, signed contracts, thousands of people who made their way here, bought tickets. Does that not warrant hanging on to see how the weather unfolds? Would you really put your safety in the hands of a concert organizer by hanging around when you thought it unsafe, waiting for someone to say "you can go home now?"

    • apples
      July 11, 2014 - 05:26

      Funny that the organizers new on Friday that major entertainers weren't coming. Again GREED.

  • don
    July 10, 2014 - 09:51

    MLA James Aylward. i can agree ith you to a point but these people are over 21 they knew the storm was coming and they had a choice to come or stay away. so really the campers are mostly to blame but the government could have done more but that is up to the minister. where was she at? in a storm she and and all that is important in a storm like ghiz,sherry, etc should be in there offices or at the emo centre helping set things up. and can anyone tell me how much training does the minister really and honestly have in an emergency? does she have and i do not mean a paper given to her just because she is the minister. sherry did you attend the full training for ICS 100, BEM, EOC, EXD 200, EPI. if not you have no right to be in charge of the safety of islanders when you have no idea what you are doing.

  • don
    July 10, 2014 - 08:40

    MacDougall i hope this link will help you and other learn something. http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

  • don
    July 10, 2014 - 08:38

    MacDougall i think you had better recheck your statement of "The president of the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities says Island communities are prepared to deal with emergencies." are you sure they are up todate on how and what to do? tell us with all your wisdom how are you and others going to do when we get a cat 3+ hurricane?

  • Common sense
    July 10, 2014 - 07:29

    Tenters blaming government for not being there for them when the tenters clearly have no common sense??!! Seriously!!! This complaint would be laughable if it wasn't so pathetic!! Does Aylward pitch a tent when there is a hurricane/tropical storm approaching?