June 28, 2013
WATERVILLE, NS – The Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre (KRRC) held a successful evacuation exercise of its main Centre on County Home Road this morning.
A false code indicating a suspected bomb threat was announced in the building just after 9:30 am. An evacuation was completed in 12 minutes.
KRRC Chief Executive Officer Judy Heffern said the goal of the drill was to help staff improve their preparedness and comfort level with client evacuation, and to provide a reliable basis for review and improvement of KRRC’s existing emergency plan. This type of exercise is required every three years by the facility’s provincial licensing body and is also a standard practice under Accreditation Canada.
“Despite some rain, the exercise went well,” said Heffern. She noted several individuals were assigned the role of observer. Their feedback and observations will go forward to the Emergency Planning Committee when the plan comes up for revision this September.
Assistance was provided on scene by Waterville and District Fire Department and members of Valley Search and Rescue. During a debrief with management and staff following the exercise, Waterville Deputy Fire Chief Wayne Pineo noted, “For a building of this size 12 minutes is a good time. You deserve a pat on the back.” Heffern commended everyone for their quick response.
The Centre last underwent a total evacuation in March 2010 when an actual bomb threat was received by email. That threat was subsequently deemed a hoax, but 172 clients, 70 in wheelchairs, had to be evacuated.
Staff and residents spent several hours housed at the Waterville Fire Department while police and sniffer dogs searched tthe building.
The CEO noted a recent bomb scare at a large-scale charity fundraiser in Halifax, as well as the wide-spread flooding in Western Canada are two examples of why emergency planning is so crucial for communities and organizations. Heffern said risk management is an important part of the quality programming delivered at KRRC, and client families can be assured that resident safety in all situations is a high priority.
KRRC has been serving the disability community for over 50 years and employs some 600 staff. The Centre provides a supportive living, learning and working environment for 200 youth and adults with physical, cognitive and mental health challenges from across Nova Scotia. KRRC is accredited with exemplary standing under Accreditation Canada, licensed under the Homes for Special Care Act, and funded through the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services.