Emergency Response

Did You Know... A Regional Emergency Response Plan is in place to deal with crisis events that may occur in Athabasca and throughout Athabasca County. Other communities use our plan as a model.


Regional Emergency Response Plan


The Athabasca Regional Emergency Response Plan is a comprehensive guide that clearly outlines the specific steps necessary to quickly respond to any form of crisis event wherever it may occur in Athabasca or throughout Athabasca County.

The plan, a joint effort between the Town of Athabasca, Village of Boyle, Athabasca County, and prepared in consultation with Emergency Response Management Consulting, is reviewed annually by the Director of Emergency Services, Athabasca County.

“The Athabasca Regional Emergency Response Plan is one of the first in the province,” notes Doug Topinka, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Athabasca and the Director of Disaster Services for the Town. “Our model is used widely in the province as a good example.”

The reason for developing a formalized plan is to ensure that participating municipalities have the means to respond as quickly, efficiently and effectively as possible to crisis events. The primary concern is the safety of citizens in the affected area. The aim is to manage all resources and personnel to minimize injury to personnel, minimize damage or destruction of property, and promote rapid return to normal operations.

The Athabasca plan, currently 123 pages, provides a detailed outline of the organizational structure of response activities; governing authorities; communication plan; locations and functions of the Regional Crisis Centre (RCC), Regional Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Incident Command Post (ICP); duties and responsibilities; specific function plans; directories of available manpower, physical resources and services; lists and analysis of possible hazards; and post-incident recovery guidelines.

The plan includes back-up procedures to cover certain scenarios.

“One Emergency Operations Centre is at the County Office,” Doug explains. “If there is a power failure, we can go across to the County workshop where there is a generator back-up.”

If the local situation calls for it, the EOC for Athabasca could relocate to the Village of Boyle office, and vice-versa.

Response Plan personnel can also serve as back-up for each other. Doug and his two Response Plan counterparts, the Village of Boyle manager and the Director of Emergency Services for Athabasca County, can cover each other in the role of Director of Emergency Services. “It gives us the ability to rotate people, to get a rest, so we’re not stuck for days in an emergency situation,” says Doug.

The plan also provides guidelines for the training of regional personnel who are assigned emergency response responsibilities, as well as training drills and activities to test certain elements of the emergency response system.

Full simulations are to be conducted periodically where an actual incident is staged and the complete emergency preparedness organization is mobilized to deal with it. A simulation centre is used to represent the outside world and community resources are invited to participate in the exercise.

In the event of an actual crisis event in Athabasca, the Athabasca Regional Multiplex, located across from Athabasca University, would become the reception centre.

The complete plan can be viewed online at Athabasca Regional Emergency Response Plan.

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