March 16, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Improvements to the flood notification system, a more comprehensive public warning system, and increased public awareness activities are among the commitments announced today by the Province of New Brunswick.
The recommendations are in response to an outside evaluation of the government's response to the 2008 spring freshet, which saw a near-record level of flooding and extensive property damage in the northwest region of the province and along the St. John River valley.
"Following last year's flood, we commissioned an independent, external evaluation of our response and recovery operations," said Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General John W. Foran. "The purpose was to analyze what worked well, and what areas needed improvement. We have made several changes in response, and we will continue to assess what is needed, not just for this year, but for the long term."
The external evaluation was prepared by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) Canada, and examined the mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery actions of provincial departments and municipalities affected by the flood. In addition, SAIC Canada was responsible for investigating the community capacity in the northwest to develop and deliver an emergency management program; to determine if the government has a central focus when preparing for and responding to emergencies; and to analyze the effectiveness of the integration of all government departments to achieve maximum results.
"This report found that we had some key successes, and also gave very specific recommendations on what we can do better," said Foran. "Over the last several months, the Department of Public Safety, our NB-EMO staff and other departments have been working with municipalities and partners, and we are confident that we will be able to respond quickly and effectively to help New Brunswickers to be safe in the event of another flood situation."
EDITOR'S NOTE: The government's response to the flood report may be found online. MEDIA CONTACTS: Lisa Harrity, communications, Department of Public Safety, 506-453-4433; Ernest MacGillivray, director, NB-EMO, 506-453-2133.