Halton Region and Town of Halton Hills test response to severe wind with emergency exercise

Halton Region and Town of Halton Hills test response to severe wind with emergency exercise

Release Date: Nov 29, 2018

On November 29, 2018, Halton Region and the Town of Halton Hills partnered with first responders and community organizations to stage an emergency exercise. The scenario featured a fictional severe wind event that caused extensive property damage and service disruptions in North Halton.

“Our drills and exercises help us protect the community from emergencies,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We are proud to work with our local partners to minimize the risks, coordinate response efforts and reduce the impact of crisis situations. By regularly assessing and improving our plans, we ensure that essential government services are available when you need them most.”

As part of this exercise, titled “Exercise Downburst”, the Region tested its procedures for opening the designated emergency evacuation centre in Halton Hills (at Gellert Community Centre). Participants included:

  • the Canadian Red Cross
  • St. John’s Ambulance
  • Halton Regional Police Service
  • Halton Region Paramedic Services
  • HMC Connections
  • the Salvation Army
  • the Halton Hills Fire Department

The exercise focused on efforts to protect resident safety during and after the event, as well as the recovery activities that followed. Participants assessed the Region’s coordinated response to identify strengths, challenges and areas for improvement.

Halton updated its Emergency Program and Plan in June 2018 to incorporate lessons from previous exercises and new technologies (such as the Alert Ready Emergency Alert System, which delivers urgent notifications via television, radio and mobile devices). In addition to “Exercise Downburst”, which was the largest scenario planned for 2018, the Region has also participated in six smaller exercises and drills this year to ensure it is ready to respond to emergencies in Halton.

Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that involves individuals, all levels of government and the community. To learn how you can stay safe during severe weather events and other crisis situations, visit halton.ca.

The Regional Municipality of Halton serves 570,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at halton.ca.


Halton Paramedic Services Deputy Chief Peter McMurrough discusses response strategies with Oakville Fire Deputy Chief Andy Glynn.

Halton Regional Police Service Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie and Public Works Commissioner Jim Harnum plan next steps while Oakville Fire Deputy Chief Andy Glynn reads a briefing note.

Halton Regional Police Service Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie reviews an Incident Action Plan.


Canadian Red Cross cots fill a lodging area at the Emergency Evacuation Centre (Gellert Community Centre, Georgetown).

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Media Contact:

Stacey Hunter
Communications Advisor
Halton Region
Policy Integration & Communications
905-825-6000 ext. 7529
Stacey.Hunter@halton.ca