Nova Scotia’s municipalities are being commended for working to strengthen emergency management in Nova Scotia. Emergency Management Minister David Morse today, Feb. 19, congratulated Nova Scotia’s 55 municipalities for successfully completing a new emergency management self-assessment. “Municipalities have the primary responsibility for planning for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies,” Mr. Morse said. “These assessment results show that, in co-operation with the Emergency Management Office, municipalities have built a strong foundation for public protection throughout Nova Scotia.” The evaluations show that all municipalities have met the responsibilities mandated by the Emergency Management Act, including passing a municipal emergency bylaw, establishing an emergency management organization, appointing an emergency management co-ordinator, striking an emergency management planning committee, and preparing emergency management plans. Additionally, the self-evaluation process asked municipalities more than 100 questions about their protocols, potential hazards, planning, resources, training, public awareness, communications and other matters key to response readiness. It then allows the municipality an opportunity to make comment. The goal is to have municipalities examine their own processes and bring forward issues they need assistance with to the Emergency Management Office. “As emergency managers we encourage individuals and families to be prepared for an emergency,” said Barry Manuel, co-ordinator of Halifax Regional Emergency Measures. “This municipal self-evaluation is a process that helps municipalities themselves to be better prepared to respond in a time of crisis.” This is the first year for the new self-evaluations, which replaces an earlier report card style assessment that offered limited opportunity for municipalities to provide feedback to the province. This new collaborative process was developed by the Emergency Management Office in consultation with the municipalities. “It is a user friendly tool,” said Albert Bahri, co-ordinator of the West Hants Regional Emergency Management Organization, which covers West Hants, Windsor and Hantsport. “It is a tool that will aid municipal units in being prepared for any type of emergency.” The Emergency Management Office will send reviews of the assessment results to all 55 municipalities this week so that municipal and provincial emergency managers can collaborate on addressing any weaknesses. The Emergency Management Office is charged with ensuring the safety and security of Nova Scotians and their property by providing for a prompt and co-ordinated response to emergencies. Premier Rodney MacDonald has named enhancing public safety as among the government’s five priorities. Sample copies of the self-evaluation tool are available through the Emergency Management Office.