Disaster Alley 2017 is back one year after the Fort McMurray wildfires

CALGARY – One year after wildfires devastated Fort McMurray and surrounding areas, Disaster Alley, Calgary’s annual emergency preparedness event, will return after being cancelled in 2016.

The popular Disaster Alley event features specialized emergency equipment and more than 30 organizations that provide assistance in disasters, but was cancelled last year due to the recovery needs of the fires, and the support for evacuees in Calgary.

“When we got the call about the fires last year, we shifted from emergency preparedness efforts to emergency response mode,” recalls Ken McMullen, Manager of Emergency Operations of Calgary’s Emergency Management Agency (CEMA). “Most of our exhibitors were involved in the Fort McMurray response in one way or another. It was the right thing to do; our community heroes had to go do their jobs.”

The City of Calgary and Canada Task Force 2, a volunteer-run disaster response agency, deployed hundreds of emergency management specialists and support staff including Calgary firefighters, paramedics, search and rescue crews, logistics specialists, emergency command staff and transit operators in response to the crisis in Fort McMurray.

In addition to the fire response, hundreds of City of Calgary staff and volunteers were involved in welcoming 2,500 evacuees, providing temporary lodging and food, programming, and linking them to support from the Alberta government.

As the kickoff to this year’s National Emergency Preparedness Week (May 7 - 13), Disaster Alley will take place Saturday, May 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. Admission is free and all ages are welcome to come and meet the real life heroes in their community, like Canada Task Force 2, Calgary firefighters, police officers and other disaster-management specialists. Calgarians can explore specialized emergency response equipment and learn how to prepare a 72-hour emergency kit for their home.

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