News Archive for June, 2013

Why Do Municipalities Need to Know What Their Businesses Are up to?

On Saturday, June 15 at approximately 1300 hrs a warehouse in South-West Indianapolis, Indiana caught fire. Over two hundred fire fighters responded to the blaze and about 100 homes in the vicinity were evacuated. A second building was ignited as well. After eight hours the fire was declared under control. Not out but under control. People out and about in downtown Indianapolis speculated on many issues related to the blaze. What is in the building?  Initially, no one knew. It was several hours before it was discovered that the building housed a national recycling centre full of wooden pallets, used tires and other goods. This led to speculation of the effects of toxins in the smoke from the fire and its effects on people’s health. As the fire was in the city’s southwest, the same area as the international airport, there was further speculation that the airport would be shut down. It wasn’t. I had no involvement of any kind in the operation, I was just a visitor to the city.  So speaking as an observer of the event I can offer these observations and questions.

1.       Did the city’s emergency services know in advance what was in the building? It’s not a bad thing if the average citizen doesn’t have this information but it is essential for emergency services to know.

2.       Did the city’s emergency services have the ability to monitor the contents of the smoke from the fire? What technology does Indianapolis possess that will allow them to give good information to its’ citizens?

3.       Rumors are a fact of life. Social media was reporting on the incident almost as soon as the fire began. Social media is not always an accurate or reliable source of information. It is critical that the city get credible information out in order to protect public safety.

 4.       Pre-planning for such a large facility (400,000 ft2) is essential

It is only the morning after the event as I write this. Firefighters are still dousing hot spots. We will keep you posted on developments.

– Paul

For more information on the Indianapolis warehouse fire visit TheIndyChannel


Summer is Tornado Season in Alberta, Are You Prepared?

In the Canadian prairies, June is the onset of tornado season. The province of Alberta averages about 16 reported tornadoes per year. With the tragic events in that occurred in Moore, Oklahoma last month, it is important to re-assess our own level of preparedness for violent weather. Due to the relatively little advanced warning prior to the onset of a tornado, being prepared in advance is our best tool to minimize the risk posed by these dangerous storms.

Do you have any of the following?

  • A Family Emergency Plan
    • Designated shelter areas?
    • Backup modes of communication?
    • Designated meeting place if separated during the event?
  • Emergency Kit
    • At home?
    • At work?
    • In your car?
  • Insurance

For more information about tornadoes, warning systems and emergency preparedness, check out the Alberta Emergency Management Association’s manual here.