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Kevin Clifford is chief of the Saint John Fire Department and director of the Saint John Emergency Management Organization. Image: Brad Perry

Saint John EMO seeks feedback on emergency response plan

By Brad Perry Apr 11, 2023 | 6:29 AM

The Saint John Emergency Management Organization has begun the process of updating its emergency response plan.

Officials with the city and Saint John EMO held a virtual town hall last week to go over the plan and get input from residents.

Kevin Clifford, Saint John’s fire chief and EMO director, said the plan outlines the procedures to be followed in specific emergency situations.

That includes detailed roles and responsibilities, and what actions might need to be taken during the emergency.

“It removes a lot of the anxiety, it removes a lot of the unknown, and you’re better able to process the decisions that have to be made,” said Clifford.

There are 30 scenarios in the current plan, including severe winter storms, aviation incidents, biological disasters, communication failures, flooding, train derailments and hazardous materials incidents.

Each scenario is assigned a risk category between very low and extreme depending on the likelihood and consequences.

Five of the 30 scenarios are considered high risk, including blizzard/ice storm, biological, explosion, hazardous materials and structure fires. There are none rates very high or extreme.

Twelve of the scenarios are rated moderate, are eight are low, and five are very low.

Clifford said the municipality is required to review the plan every so many years. The first plan was adopted in 1994 with the current plan approved in August 2021.

“There might not be a large amount of changes this particular update. I think there’s going to be some,” he said.

Community members are encouraged to submit feedback through Shape Your City Saint John, where you can also view the current plan and the scenarios outlined in it.

Feedback will be accepted until Monday, April 17. The updated plan will be presented to the city’s public safety committee in May.


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