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Emergency Management Courses to assist rural communities, Manitoba

 Twyla Siple

Volunteers from the RM’s of Gimli, Armstrong and the Town of Winnipeg Beach are invited to attend a free emergency management course put on by Napier Consulting.

Volunteers from the RM’s of Gimli, Armstrong and the Town of Winnipeg Beach are invited to attend a free emergency management course put on by Napier Consulting.

Volunteers from the RM’s of Gimli, Armstrong and the Town of Winnipeg Beach are invited to attend a free emergency management course put on by Napier Consulting. 
According to Napier Consulting’s Managing Director, Shelley Napier, this one day training session will provide insight and knowledge for volunteers who are interested in assisting their communities in the event of an emergency such as a flood, or a tornado. 
The workshop is scheduled for March 20 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Fraserwood Community Hall.
After 32 years, Napier retired from working with the province, she closely worked with municipalities building emergency management programs, gathering information on what a good emergency management course should look like. Napier now works with four other team members at her small company. She and her associates bring a combined 200 years of experience to their courses that help build strength and put resources in place for emergency management coordinators. 
“There are 139 municipalities in MB and each one must have an Municipal Emergency Coordinator,” Napier told the Interlake Spectator March 11. 
Her fellow consultants’ knowledge in emergency management encompass fire expertise, rural emergency management, policing, and coordinators that have managed with the city of Winnipeg. Because of this, they have the skills and dedication to build strong teams of emergency coordinators in small communities and are looking to expand that knowledge province wide.
“We like to get in there and make sure the papers that go into the binder are a living breathing document that the emergency coordinators are familiar with,” Napier said.
Napier’s upcoming workshop in Fraserwood is just one of many her firm intend to host. 
She explained how they will focus an entire day on emergency management theory, building the framework of an emergency management system that works best for each individual community and then tie in exercises based on what they learned, building teams based on discerning who of the participants attending the workshop would be best to do which type of job in the areas of operations and receptions. They will look at what hazards affect each community and how they will affect each area differently. 
Napier said she has a good number of people already registered for the course in Fraserwood and that representatives from Gimli Council will also be in attendance.
According to her research, Manitoban municipalities have to be prepared for things like changing weather patterns bringing on potential disaster threats and she feels that these three communities in particular are very proactive. 
“That’s why they have hired me to make sure their programs are solid.”
Napier said she feels that they understand that their emergency programs need to be solid and her team believes that they can help them have a firmer understanding of what needs to be done in emergency type situations, such as a fire, or plane crash.
“What if Winnipeg Beach has one of their board walk days or Gimli has the Icelandic Festival, what do you do when you have to evacuate not 300 people, but 30,000 people?” Napier proffered. 
Province wide
Napier’s Consulting company wants to assist more community initiatives like this in Manitoba and is open to working with more RM’s, Towns and First Nations communities to work with as they are helping launch a new initiative for an ongoing emergency management coordinators association.
They have incorporated the Manitoba Association of Municipal Emergency Coordinators. Similar to the Manitoba Recreation Connections that brings together recreation professionals together from across the province, this will be a opportunity for Manitoban EMC’s to gather, compare notes and potentially create provincial uniformity.
“I really believe that we can build resiliency within communities by pulling together and looking at resources, both human and material, that we have from within - and so we are starting training,” she said.
The MAMEC is taking it’s fledgling steps and will host its first meeting in Steinbach Firehall March 29. The meeting will be co-hosted by Steinbach’s EMC Dennis Vasserton and will be free to attend. These meetings are only for Municipal Emergency Coordinator’s in Manitoba, not as a provincial initiative, but from Napier and her group of dedicated coordinators that believe it’s important for communities to work together to create more knowledge about emergency management. 
Annual registration fees for the association have not yet been set, but Napier said that her firm is working on the numbers so that it will be affordable for every municipality to join MAMEC.
The ongoing monthly meetings will continue with  the next one taking place East St. Paul, April 11, and in Woodlands May 2.
“Let’s look at what we need and begin with (deciding) how we are going to get started.”
For more information on MAMEC, or to contact Napier Consulting’s emergency management courses coming to your community, contact

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