Around 60 municipal and provincial staff from around the region are training in Fort Saskatchewan this week.
On Wednesday (Feb.6), the Regional Incident Management Team (RIMT) for the Edmonton area, which includes 26 municipalities, gathered at city hall and took part in a large-scale simulated emergency exercise for the first time.
"It's a really good way for these people from around the Edmonton region to come together, create a network, practice their skills and learn how to efficiently and effectively bring order from chaos," said Jason Greidanus, deputy director of emergency management with Strathcona County.
The scenario given to the RIMT involved an overturned tanker truck full of an unknown chemical near the intersection of Highway 21 and Highway 15.
"Here in the Industrial Heartland area, it's not an uncommon occurrence, so we're planning for things that are realistic — something that we can reasonably expect to see and that would probably outstrip the ability of the one municipality to deal with on their own," Greidanus noted.
The purpose of the training is for members to learn and practice the incident command system process in a safe environment, so that they're ready to provide mutual aid assistance in the event of a future emergency. The process involves planning, setting objectives, resourcing those objectives and then carrying them out.
"This is not just a quick investment in one exercise — this is a long-term, multi-year investment in regional incident management capability," Greidanus explained. "The kind that we would see in the Fort McMurray fires, the Edmonton tornadoes or the Calgary floods."
The group will be given a similar scenario to work through on Thursday (Feb.7), but there will be less coaching involved.
All told, the Alberta Emergency Management Agency is building five regional teams throughout the province.