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Trillium Response Exercise Presents New Challenges

November 21, 2008 - Operation Trillium Response, the largest-ever peace time emergency response exercise to date in Canada, is entering its fifth day of operation. The emergency exercise is based on a major mock ice storm that has caused significant damage and wide-spread power outages across Northwestern Ontario. As part of the exercise, a total of 14 communities across the region have declared emergency status, requiring emergency assistance from Emergency Management Ontario (EMO), the Department of National Defence (DND), the Emergency Medical Assistance Team portable hospital (EMAT), the Canadian Red Cross, and the Salvation Army due to the exhaustion of local resources.

Over 40 difference organizations including: municipalities, First Nations, provincial ministries, federal organizations and non-governmental agencies are participating in the joint exercise designed by EMO and the Canadian Forces, to test capacities to respond in the event of a real natural disaster.

Within Thunder Bay, the City's Emergency Response Plan has been invoked and is working. The City is working 24/7 to bring the City back to normal operations. The safety and security of Thunder Bay citizens is paramount during all emergency operations.

Many of the exercise's scenarios are occurring in the City of Thunder Bay, including the exercise's latest development - a mock collapse of an operational grain elevator along Thunder Bay's waterfront. The fictitious building collapse occurred at 6 pm on Thursday, Nov. 20, triggering the dispatch of Thunder Bay Fire & Rescue Service, Superior North EMS and the Thunder Bay Police Service. The fake collapse scenario includes a total of 110 people trapped inside the building, requiring a request for Ontario's Heavy Urban Search and Rescue unit (HUSAR). HUSAR is being airlifted to Thunder Bay to search for the victims trapped under the weight of ruble, ice. The Canadian Forces is airlifting the HUSAR unit from Toronto using a CC-177 air transport to assist Thunder Bay Fire & Rescue Services. Overnight, the Thunder Bay Fire & Rescue was able to rescue 80 people that were trapped inside. There are approximately 30 people believed to be trapped under rubble. This is a rescue operation that will take a great deal of time and effort. The removal of debris must be done with a great deal of care because of the risk of further injury to the victims and the emergency responders.

Ontario EMAT's portable hospital arrived in the City last night and the will be operational today as to assist the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, as the hospital would be at full capacity if these scenarios were real.

While emergency personnel respond to the building collapse scenario, the City's Emergency Operations Control Group continues with exercise activities, including the set up of emergency shelters throughout the City to accommodate nearly 20,000 citizens who are without heat and food supply. The administration of these shelters includes the participation of disaster relief organizations including the Canadian Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board and City staff.

The exercise has also tested the emergency plans and capabilities of utilities including hydro and telephone. The scenario has called for the deployment of 100 Hydro One crews (about 400 workers) being sent throughout the region to restore hydro infrastructure and the restoration of telephone service after a complete outage in urban and rural areas.

Exercise events include an ongoing door to door canvass by Thunder Bay Police, DND and the Ontario Provincial Police to check if occupants are in need of emergency medical attention and or transportation to shelter. Canvassers are taking the opportunity to distribute information about how citizens can be prepared in the event of a real emergency.

Operation Trillium Response is expected to wrap up Saturday, Nov. 22.

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Contact: Trillium Response Joint Information Centre, 416-432-8726

Fact Sheet:
Trillium Response 2008 Exercise Participants & Assets

November 21, 2008 - Trillium Response 2008 involves more than 1,500 participants from 40 different organizations including provincial ministries, federal departments, the Canadian Forces, municipalities and non-governmental organizations. The exercise was jointly developed by Emergency Management Ontario and the Canadian Forces.

The Canadian Forces is using a CC-177 air transport to airlift human resources and supplies.

Approximately 350 Department of National Defence Troops are on the ground.

Thunder Bay, population 109,140, is the largest community on Lake Superior, located at the head of the Great Lakes in Northwestern Ontario.
Provincial Partners
The following provincial ministries and agencies are taking part in the exercise:
- Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
- Emergency Management Ontario
- Ontario Provincial Police
- Office of the Fire Marshal
- Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
- Emergency Medical Assistance Team
- Ministry of Natural Resources
- Ministry of Labour
- Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
- Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure
- Ministry of the Environment
- Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
- Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
- Ministry of Transportation.

In addition, the province of Manitoba will also take part in the exercise, including its provincial Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team and Emergency Management Organization.

Federal Partners
The following federal departments and agencies are involved in the exercise:
- The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces through its
      Ontario-based Joint Task Force Central
- Public Safety Canada 
- Canadian Coast Guard
- Environment Canada.

Municipal and First Nation Partners
- City of Thunder Bay
- Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board
- Rainy River District  (Rainy River, Lake of the Woods, Dawson, Emo, La Valle, Chapple, Alberton, Morley - share a joint emergency operations centre)
- Town of Atikokan
- Township of Conmee
- Township of Fort Frances
- City of Kenora
- Town of Machin
- Town of Manitouwadge
- Town of Marathon
- Township of Neebing
- Townships of Nipigon, Red Rock and Dorion (joint exercise)
- Township of Oliver Paipoonge
- Township of Pickle Lake
- Township of Shuniah
- Aroland First Nation
- Constance Lake First Nation
- Rocky Bay First Nation

Other Partners
Non-governmental organizations and other participants in Trillium Response include:
- Canadian Red Cross
- St. John Ambulance
- Salvation Army
- Confederation College
- Lakehead University
- Thunder Bay Port Authority
- Thunder Bay International Airports Authority
- Supply Chain and Logistics Coordination Alliance

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Contact: Trillium Response Joint Information Centre, 416-432-8726