The Government of New Brunswick has announced an additional $1.7 million in funding to help improve local emergency preparedness and double the number of regional emergency management co-ordinators.

The additional funding is in response to Clerk of the Executive Council Judy Wagner, who released recommendations in review of the province’s response to the January 2017 ice storm. In addition to that, the province anticipates a new regime of environmental emergencies as a result of climate change.

“Improving emergency readiness is a collaborative and constant effort,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry. “The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NBEMO) will be better able to support local communities in their responsibilities for emergency management and do its part to help keep us safe, secure, and resilient.”

The funds will ensure there is a regional emergency management co-ordinator in each of the province’s 12 Regional Service Commission areas. They help support local authorities and first responders and co-ordinate local and provincial emergency planning and response.

The extra funds will also allow emergency management training sessions in both official languages to be delivered more often and in more locations. The training helps communities prepare to carry out their roles and responsibilities under the Emergency Measures Act.

The department will also consult with stakeholders on potential improvements to emergency management. Stakeholders include local government officials, first responders, First Nations, provincial government officials, owners of critical infrastructure, and non-governmental agencies like the Canadian Red Cross.

These consultations will focus on how, collectively, New Brunswick can improve its ability to plan for and manage emergencies. Issues will include transparency and accountability regarding the province’s emergency risks, capabilities, plans, reviews and action; ensuring more co-operation across boundaries and mandates; and improving individual and community-level resilience with particular attention to community capacity building and caring for the most vulnerable populations.

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Landry has said the provincial government remains committed to implementing recommendations as a priority. “We have seen great success in communities where local authorities, operators of critical infrastructure, and community groups have co-ordinated their work among themselves and with the province,” he said.

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