Lac Seul First Nation, in collaboration with Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Canada and Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA), hosted a two-day basic emergency management course from August 1-2 where participants received a certificate upon completion.
For Lac Seul, requesting this course could very well be a history-making decision.
“We’re doing the basic emergency management course, which is a provincial course offered usually to all municipalities in Ontario to train people to coordinate response to emergencies and to also try and prevent them. This is the first time, that I know of, that a First Nation community actually requests this course because First Nations fall under different legislation, so they’re not mandated by the province to do this. All the municipalities have to, but this is really quite commendable that the community here has taken the lead to request the training,” explained emergency management professional instructor Alain Normand.
In attendance for the emergency management course was Lac Seul First Nation Chief Clifford Bull, but participants also had a visit from Kenora riding MP Bob Nault.
Nault touched on the importance of having Lac Seul First Nation complete the emergency management course while he addressed participants.
“One of the things that we’re trying to do as a government is connect the North. This program that you’re taking is absolutely critical and every community is expected to have an emergency plan, so I look forward to seeing you guys complete that because it’s very important to our elders and people with health issues. As of today, there are over 300 fires in British Colombia alone and there are over 30 fires in our region,” said Nault.
One thing Lac Seul had to do after requesting the emergency management training was designate a Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC). Nicholas Rhone was named the CEMC for Lac Seul with Band Councillors Gerald Kejick and David Gordon being named alternate CEMC’s. Rhone touched on the direction of Lac Seul’s emergency management capacity and its potential as a training hub for other Northern communities.
“One of the first things I did as CEMC was set up the training, bringing in Alain, and we have more training in September. Lac Seul is rapidly moving towards likely being a hub for training where other communities can come. We have other communities here today like Mishkeegogamang, Wabigoon, Fort Hope and of course management from SLFNHA (Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority) is here as well,” explained Rhone.
While reflecting on the course, instructor Alain Normand was surprised by not only the amount of participants but also the amount of involvement as well. The participation in Lac Seul was higher than municipalities of that size.
“It’s an excellent group with quite a lot of involvement. I’ve had groups of 10 or 12 people taking the course in municipalities of similar size, but here we have 43 people and they’re all into it. This is great and there’s been great interaction,” Normand concluded.
Source: Jesse Bonello, The Sioux Lookout Bulletin