Parkade incident review outlines County’s emergency response strengths and areas for improvement

December 10, 2019

Parkade incident review outlines County’s emergency response strengths and areas for improvement

As part of its commitment to safety and best practices, Strathcona County invited an independent contractor to review the County’s emergency response and recovery, following the Community Centre parkade explosions on November 6, 2018 up to full operational recovery on May 8, 2019.

As part of its commitment to safety and best practices, Strathcona County invited an independent contractor to review the County’s emergency response and recovery, following the Community Centre parkade explosions on November 6, 2018 up to full operational recovery on May 8, 2019.

The After Action Review focused on information flow and communications, the emergency operations centre, the recovery and re-entry of the Community Centre/County Hall and business continuity planning and management.

During the December 10, 2019 Council meeting, iStrategic Advisors Inc. presented their findings of what went well, what could be improved and recommendations for moving forward. The report is based on over 75 interviews with County staff, tenants and partners, a comprehensive review of County documents and plans, along with a scan of relevant internal and external After Action Reviews for best practices and learnings.

“This review provides context to a highly complex and challenging emergency response,” says Mayor Rod Frank. “The report reinforces Strathcona County’s successful focus on ensuring the safety of its citizens and staff, while still maintaining full control of municipal services and operations.

“But there are always learnings, and we will action all of the recommendations to ensure public safety, communication and emergency preparedness remain a priority in our community.” 

Strengths

The report’s findings confirmed the County’s actions aligned with its priority of ensuring the safety of citizens and staff throughout the incident.

Strathcona County maintained full control and management of all municipal services and operations, throughout the duration of the incident.

Strathcona County effectively recovered and continued to provide municipal functions and services, despite the relocation of 600+ staff and loss of its headquarters in the Community Centre and County Hall complex.

Throughout its response and recovery efforts, Strathcona County worked with a broad set of community partners (e.g., RCMP, Elk Island Catholic School and Elk Island Public School Boards, Heartland Alliance Church, Alberta Health Services, Strathcona Library) to care for and support of citizens and its staff.

The report notes the effectiveness of the County’s crisis communications with internal and external stakeholders and the public, following the first day.  

Learnings

The key areas for improvement focused on strengthening components of:

  • Plans and readiness
    Further training and exercises for the Emergency Advisory Committee and the Incident Management Team, as well as stronger integration between the County’s emergency response plans.
  • Incident management
    Stronger consideration of unified command, as well the development of a recovery plan that formally defines the reporting structure.
  • Crisis communications
    Formal use of internal notifications using existing tools, release of a holding statement earlier, and clearly defined roles for crisis communication versus day-to-day communication.
  • Business continuity
    Updated business continuity plans, prioritized business functions and overall readiness for primary and secondary recovery options.

Strathcona County has committed to actioning all report recommendations, in addition to the work already completed or underway since November 6, 2018.

To view the full report, visit the parkade incident page or call 780-410-6595.

 

Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of hydrocarbon processing in Western Canada. Strathcona County is a leader in environmental conservation, and 55 per cent of its land is within the UNESCO Beaver Hills Biosphere. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

- 30 -

Note to editors:
A web-friendly image is attached to this release.

Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595