Elgin County hosts multi-agency training exercise

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2022

Central Elgin, Ontario – On December 14, 2022, Elgin County hosted a multi-agency emergency management exercise involving a fictitious cyber attack and a presentation from industry expert Dave Colvin which detailed the changing landscape of emergency management in Ontario. The event included more than 85 participants from local municipalities and other agencies and provided staff from the County of Elgin, Town of Aylmer, Municipality of Bayham, Municipality of Dutton Dunwich, Township of Southwold, Township of Malahide, and the Municipality of West Elgin with a critical opportunity to review and practice their respective Emergency Management Plans with support agencies.

Emergency exercises are required by legislation and are a key part of municipal Emergency Management Plans and planning. While this year’s exercise focused on a cyber incident, Emergency Management Plans deal with all types of emergency situations including natural disasters and infrastructure risks. These plans are reviewed and revised on an annual basis to incorporate any infrastructure changes, along with lessons learned through exercises and actual emergencies that have occurred over the past year.

The training exercise saw a cross-agency response from a number of local agencies, including Elgin Ontario Provincial Police, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Services, Southwestern Public Health and Elgin-St. Thomas Social Services. The exercise was intended to help municipalities put emergency response plans to the test to evaluate their effectiveness, help participants build relationships, and ensure participants are familiar with response protocols.

This year’s exercise involving a cyber attack scenario was delivered by Elgin’s Emergency Management Program Coordinator, Stephanie Cyros. As part of the scenario, participants responded to a fictional situation involving the municipality’s computer network. Through this exercise, municipalities tested protocols, procedures, and communications plans.
“Tabletop exercises are a valuable way for us to implement and assess our Emergency Response Plans to ensure we have effective and reliable policies and procedures in place that will allow for the best possible outcome in a range of emergency scenarios,” said Warden Ed Ketchabaw. “Equipped with firsthand knowledge of the County’s cyber security incident that happened in April 2022, County representatives did a great job facilitating the exercise and presented us with a very realistic situation.”

“Across Elgin County, resident safety is our number one priority. We view these annual exercises and training as an essential part of our commitment to safety by ensuring we’re prepared in the event of an incident,” said the Warden. “This exercise was a good opportunity for all the responding agencies to get together to work through our Emergency Response Plans,” he continued, “a large-scale incident is likely to require the involvement of all of these agencies and I was pleased to see the level of coordination and commitment between all of our partners and municipalities to receive the training and work together to test our Plans. I applaud those who participated for their ongoing commitment to emergency preparedness.”

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For additional information, please contact:
Ed Ketchabaw
Warden, Elgin County Council
warden@elgin.ca  
519-619-8432