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More protection for Albertans in emergencies

The Redford government is improving its ability to respond to emergencies by accepting all of the recommendations put forward in an external review of the May 2011 Lesser Slave Lake Wildfires.

The government requested the Lessons Learned Report: Building on our Strengths in order to learn from the unprecedented wildfires and to make an already strong emergency response system even stronger.

“The Slave Lake wildfires required a heroic, multi-faceted, cross-jurisdictional response,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths. “This report clearly highlights the extraordinary number of resources and effort that was marshalled to make the response and recovery a success. Any time there is a significant disaster, it is prudent to do a post-operational review. This report does just that, allowing our province to be more prepared for future disasters.”

Significant resources from the emergency response community across Canada, municipalities from across Alberta, volunteers and non-government organizations, and the provincial government were harnessed in the response and recovery efforts. The Government of Alberta made a significant financial commitment totaling $289 million including staff resources.

“We have accepted all recommendations in the report and are working with other government departments, their partners and stakeholders to address them. Many are already implemented or in process of being implemented,” Griffiths explained.

KPMG LLP produced the 237-page report, which focuses on the entire response over the first three months, including the involvement of the Government of Alberta, municipalities, emergency management agencies and first responders and the public, to catalogue and compare the actions taken against established protocols and best practices. For example, lessons learned from the Slave Lake experience for evacuation, reception centre coordination, and re-entry have been mined for best practices. These were successfully utilized during more recent events, like the 2012 Mackenzie County fires.

Our government was elected to keep building Alberta, to live within its means and to fight to open new markets for Alberta’s resources. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for.

Media inquiries may be directed to:
Kathleen Range
Press Secretary
Municipal Affairs
780-221-5805 (cell)
Twitter: @KathleenRange

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.