Lac Seul First Nation hosts series of incident management courses
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Lac Seul First Nation, in collaboration with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA), hosted incident management courses from Sept. 18-20 at the Lac Seul Events Centre, which is a continuation of basic emergency training that took place on August 1 and 2.
“This current course is focused on incident management from a leadership perspective…The courses that we’re offering are the provincially prescribed courses that other municipalities will be doing as well,” said Nick Rhone, who is Lac Seul First Nation’s community emergency management coordinator.
First Nation’s communities aren’t mandated by the province to complete the provincially-prescribed training because they fall under different legislations. Emergency Management Ontario’s website states, “At the government level, all municipalities and provincial ministries are required to have an emergency management program. The requirements for these programs are set out in the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Emergency Management Ontario supports municipalities and ministries in implementing their programs by providing them with advice, assistance, guidelines, training, and other tools.”
Rhone said Lac Seul’s participation in the training shows their commitment to community safety, and the full classes also showed their dedication.
“It’s amazing, and it’s actually a testament to the leadership and community members of Lac Seul. It really shows how committed the community is to their safety and well-being. To me, it’s just been a privilege to be along for the ride and to be around such a great community…I spoke with the instructor (Sharon Bak) and she was saying, even when the course was offered in Thunder Bay for example, they almost never have this amount of participants,” he explained.
Course instructor Sharon Bak, who is a field officer from the Ontario Fire Marshall & Emergency Management, shared the excitement she felt when she saw high community participation during the incident management courses, especially because the training isn’t required for Lac Seul.
“We are very encouraged to see this many people out for a course. We’re at full capacity. We’re very excited about that, especially for a small community. To see this level of enthusiasm and commitment to working on emergency management is phenomenal,” said Bak.
“We’re very excited to see a First Nations community like Lac Seul take this and look at emergency management because it isn’t mandatory for them. I was thrilled at the opportunity to meet everyone here and to help out their emergency management capacity,” she continued.
Lac Seul First Nation Chief Clifford Bull was among the participants at the training, and he shared that his main priority is to make sure there’s a system in place protecting the community in case of an emergency.
“It shows that we’re very serious about having some sort of emergency preparedness plan in place so that if there indeed is an emergency, which can occur at any time, we’re ready and we have a plan. Our job as leaders is to protect the public as best we can, and I think this is another way of ensuring that community members are protected and safeguarded,” said Bull.
Moving forward, Bull said that there’s still more learning and training to do. He mentioned that he wants to do more situation-based training to be even more prepared during a time of emergency.
“We still have a lot of work to do but it’ll get better once more people learn and get trained. We want to do mock training and exercises to build up our readiness,” Bull concluded.