Photo credit: Martin Halek
Although it’s never been invoked, an emergency assistance agreement between the District of Muskoka and Simcoe County is up for renewal.
The Mutual Assistance Agreement means one party can rely on the other to provide help in an emergency, whether that’s equipment, resources, or manpower.
“Let’s say we were in a situation where we needed more resources from a public works perspective, we would be able to call the County of Simcoe and say ‘hey, our folks here, they’ve been running 24/7 doing repairs, we’re starting to run out of steam, we could use a loader’,” says Jeff McWilliam, Muskoka’s Chief of Paramedic Services and Emergency Management. “That request would go through the CAO’s office, and if they can, they would come over, bring not only the equipment but the human resources that come with that, and help us out as long as they could.”
McWilliam says neither party has needed to invoke the arrangement since it was formally put in writing in 2016.
“We haven’t actually officially used this agreement; when the District declares an emergency, we’ve been able to handle it on our own,” says McWilliam. “It’s certainly nice to have, but it’s also nice to report we haven’t used it to date too.”
With the current five-year agreement expiring in November, the district’s Health Services committee approved a renewal Thursday morning. While the decision still needs to be ratified by District Council in October and approved by Simcoe County, McWilliam says it’s likely to be renewed.
“I would be surprised, because it has remained unchanged, and we value our partnership with the County of Simcoe, so I would have to believe that things would go fairly smoothly,” says McWilliam. “It’s nice to know that we do have friends in other places that would be willing to step up and assist us if we do get into some trouble.”