How does Cote Saint-Luc handle emergency situations?

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In my opinion:

Montrealers were rightly miffed knowing that hundreds of fellow urbanites were stranded overnight on a snowbound Autoroute 13 a few months ago. How could this happen in 2017, we asked? I ask, could such a fiasco, on a very local scale happen in Cote Saint-Luc?

On Autoroute 13 all signs point to a major breakdown in frontline coordination, in communications between agencies, in preparation (see Gazette article link below).

I have dedicated my civic life to public safety, in Cote Saint-Luc (and across Quebec), with a  goal of making our municipality the safest place around. I began early, back in high school and CEGEP, at training in matters of safety, joining St. John Ambulance, the Canadian Ski Patrol, CSL Emergency Measures Organization and the local ambulance system. Eventually I worked my way up to overseeing public safety and emergency preparedness at the local political level.

Since that time, Cote Saint-Luc has taken matters of safety very seriously, investing in training, leadership, volunteers and citizens, in equipment and services. This deliberate and systematic nurturing of a communal culture of safety has proven effective time and again.

I was active and on duty during the major flood in the late 80s, fire evacuation in the early 90s, Ice Storm of the Century in the late 90s, Y2K, more floods, heat waves, snow emergencies, barricaded shooter, downed trees and wires, gas leaks, car crashes, missing persons, bottled water distribution… And time and again Cote Saint-Luc has proven to be a model municipality, able to effectively and quickly organize, coordinate, alleviate, sustain, recuperate…

This is no accident. We have built a corps of dedicated, life-saving volunteers in EMS over the last 50 years. We have trained over 90 volunteers as our volunteer Citizens on Patrol over the last decade. We have built a professional Public Security Department to watch over our city 24/7. We have an emergency dispatch centre and a first-class Emergency Preparedness Plan. We keep it up to date and we test it.  We’ve saved our local police station more than once to ensure close proximity to, and coordination with the authorities in crime prevention and emergency response. We built a leading firefighting and prevention department (that was taken over by Montreal in 2002). We coordinate with all levels of government. We meet regularly. We practice. We keep our citizenry informed, trained, engaged.

As a ringleader in public safety I take great pride in what we’ve accomplished and look forward to continuing to make our city the safest it can be. I’ve worked alongside many fine people along the way and they all share in this great achievement. Thank you to my council-partner-in-safety Ruth Kovac and to Bryan Payne and the late Norm Adler of EMO, to Frank Albert and the late Doug Lion of the CSL Fire Department, to Hal Newman, Rick Liebman, Stephan Kallos and Jordy Reichson of EMS, to the immeasurable dedication of our EMS volunteers including Patti-Beth Lietman, Neil Michaels, Erwin Luden, Brian Goldberg, Michael Glazer, the Sager boys (and so many more wonderful people I wish I could name all here) and vCOP volunteers including Mitchell Herf, Lewis Cohen, Susie Schwartz, Elaine Meunier, Bert Rabinovitch, Phil Mayman, Morris Stelcner, David Goldsmith, Murray Genis (and again the list of marvelous dedicated volunteers, past and present goes on and on and I thank you all immensely). And finally, thanks to our City Council for its support for my vision and all we have accomplished together. (I know I inadvertently missed some important names who’ve contributed to making CSL a safer place. Please add them in comments).

We are well prepared, trained and ready. And we are always striving to learn more, to be better. We’re all in this together.

Next week is EMS Week across Canada. I take this opportunity to salute all of our dedicated volunteers in Cote Saint-Luc along with all the paramedic professionals who serve our community.

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Probe of Highway 13 fiasco blames frontline authorities

SQ officers and safety crews try to clear up Highway 13 near Côte-de-Liesse Rd. March 15, 2017, following massive snow storm that left many motorists stranded overnight.
SQ officers and safety crews try to clear up Highway 13 near Côte-de-Liesse Rd. March 15, 2017, following massive snow storm that left many motorists stranded overnight. PIERRE OBENDRAUF / MONTREAL GAZETTE

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The power of teamwork

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Pedestrian struck by a vehicle on Kildare Road attended to by emergency personnel (Photo courtesy CSL Public Safety)

Reporting by Jordy Reichson, Director, CSL Public Safety

We are fortunate in Cote Saint-Luc to work together as a team, along with police, fire and ambulance, all to improve the level of care that we offer our residents.

Here, EMS, Urgences-santé, the Montreal Police (SPVM) and Public Security work together to care for a woman who was hit by a car while crossing Kildare. The scene was secured while the patient was immobilised and transported to hospital.

The pedestrian appears to have been crossing when the red hand signal was illuminated and the driver did not see her until it was too late.

This should serve as a reminder to all – motorists, cyclists and pedestrians – to obey the lights.

Brave effort in deep end by CSL personnel 

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Last week Cote Saint-Luc emergency personnel responded to a call for assistance at a condo swimming pool on Rembrandt Ave. Upon arrival a swimmer was seen motionless at the bottom of the deep end.

Cote Saint-Luc Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson was first on scene and immediately removed his heavy utility belt carrying his radio and other tools, emptied his pockets, removed his safety boots and jumped into the pool. He was quickly joined by Public Security Agent Sebastien Payette. Together they managed to  bring the person to the surface and remove him from the water and begin resuscitation.

EMS, police and Urgences Santé technicians arrived and continued reanimation efforts. Unfortunately attempts to revive the man in his 60s were unsuccessful and he was declared dead on scene.

This tragic event serves as a critical reminder that one should never, ever swim alone.

I have recommended that the city produce and distribute signs to this effect to all condo and apartments with swimming pools.

Jordy Reichson spoke before the CSL Men’s Club a few days later and reminded the participants of the importance of having at least one other person present when swimming at a semi-private pool.

Thank you to Reichson and Payette for their brave efforts. As emergency responders they never know what the next call will bring. To be sure, jumping into the deep end of a pool, full clothed, and dragging someone out of the water is no easy task, indeed it is very dangerous. Thank you to all those other responders who did their utmost to revive this swimmer. And deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim.

To our residents in apartments and condos, please remember to be safe every time you go swimming by having someone else close by in case of emergency.

ANSI-Water-Safety-Sign-AWE-7790_150

 

 

Fre Press | July 12, 2016 | Click to enlarge

Fre Press | July 12, 2016 | Click to enlarge

Railway fire and explosions rock Cote Saint-Luc in Tabletop Exercise

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Emergency service leaders, city service directors, elected officials and community partners ‘raced’ to Cote Saint-Luc City Hall’s Emergency Operations Centre Thursday morning for a mock rail disaster. The exercise was coordinated by Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson in conjunction with Montreal Agglomeration’s Public Safety Centre.

The live action exercise included Montreal agglomeration police and fire services, Urgences Santé ambulance services, CP Police, West-Central Montreal Health, Federation CJA’s community security branch along with all services in the city of CSL.

CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson oversees the Emergency Operations Centre

The scenario involved an overnight train derailment that resulted in a fire and explosion, just east of the Westminster underpass, affecting 250 residents requiring immediate evacuation. Water and electricity was cut off. City personnel established an evacuation centre at the aquatic and community centre on Parkhaven at Mackle. Reichson gave orders to all service directors to huddle and coordinate with their first responders and personnel.

As city councillor responsible for emergency preparedness I can attest that it is evident why CSL is renowned for its level of readiness. The ongoing training, testing and preparing are well worth the investment in time and resources.

Police Commander Jean O’Malley confers with Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson. Executive Assistant Tammy McEwan keeps tabs on all decisions.

In this mock scenario I served as official spokesperson for the city in partnership with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, and neighboring municipalities and boroughs. A mock press conference was set up to inform our residents.

Several issues arose for the members of the Emergency Operations Centre to deal with on an urgent basis including diminished air quality, wind direction, sheltering of animals, providing kosher and non-kosher food, evacuation of mobility reduced residents and babies, registering residents willing to take in evacuees, distribution of drinking water and more.

Director Jordy Reichson consults with Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen

Participants dealt with a spreading power outage affecting the whole city. Traffic lights were out. Expectations were two days to restore all to normal.

The three hour scenario demonstrated the participant’s ease in dealing with unraveling urgent situations and in collaborating around the table to ensure the safety of our residents. Discussions, swinging back and forth effortlessly in French and English, flowed smoothly and in a spirit if great cooperation.

Montreal Fire Department Division Chief Martin Ferland and Police Commander Jean O’Malley update the leaders in the Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Operations Centre

Cote Saint-Luc residents can take pride in knowing that their emergency, city and community services along with mayor and councillors hold these exercises from time to time and place such a high priority in testing their skills and readiness. Through these exercises improvements and adjustments can be made, professional skills developed and relationships enhanced to be well prepared for the real deal.

On behalf of our residents, thank you to our dedicated leaders around the tabletop mock disaster. Your commitment to emergency services and to our residents and community is exemplary and greatly appreciated. Thank you to Sid-Ali Talbi of Centre de sécurité civile de Montréal and CSL Public Safety Chief Philippe Chateauvert and kudos to Jordy Reichson for his leadership in orchestrating a successful demonstration and return to normalcy for our city.

Councillor Ruth Kovac and I have been involved in emergency preparedness in Cote Saint-Luc for 36 years. I was involved in EMO in the 1987 floods and we both participated in leading city services in the 1998 Ice Storm and in preparation for Y2K. We’ve taken part in many exercises over the years and we were very impressed in how these leaders came together to deal with a sudden, life-threatening crisis in a calm and professional manner.

We’re in good hands in Cote Saint-Luc!

For more information on emergency preparedness in Cote Saint-Luc and to learn what you can do to better prepare your own family please visit the CSL Emergency Preparedness page here or GetPrepared.ca.

Quick, Call 9-1-1. Get me a lawyer!

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Where can you call 9-1-1 in a medical emergency and get two lawyers at your door in under three minutes? In Cote Saint-Luc, of course!

Lawyers by day. First Responders by night. Volunteer medics Audrey Myette and Michael Glazer just can’t get enough of helping those in need, both in the office and out.

Lawyers and First Responders, Michael Glazer and Alexandra Myette.

Lawyers and First Responders, Michael Glazer and Audrey Myette.

Myette spent eight years as an Emergency Dispatcher for Cote Saint-Luc, six of those years also as a volunteer with CSL Emergency Medical Services. Now she spends most of her time in the corporate law offices of KPMG as a tax lawyer. “The taxpayers of Cote Saint-Luc helped pay for my education and now I’m paying them back,” Myette said during National EMS Week celebrations.

“Why do I still come in and do my shifts each week?” Myette pondered? “Because I can make a difference in a split second,” she responded. This is one energetic young lawyer.

Michael Glazer completed his EMS training way back in 1986. “Since the Ice Storm, in ’98, I haven’t missed a shift,” the lawyer and businessman quipped. Glazer, who owns and operates Canada’s leading mystery shopper organization with thousands of employees throughout the country, still finds time to cover a shift very other week.

Why does Glazer do it? “I also love making a difference.” he says. “People call 911 in the most dire of situations. To be the person who arrives at their door is a privilege,” Glazer told me. “It’s a Mitzvah!”

Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson (far right) and Chief Philip Chateauvert (far left) present graduation certificates to EMS rookies (in grey)

Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson (far right) and Chief Philip Chateauvert (far left) present graduation certificates to EMS graduates

 

This is National Emergency Medical Services Week across Canada and its our opportunity, in Cote Saint-Luc, to thank our incredible volunteer First Responders. These young, dynamic and talented volunteers are the difference between life and death, answering 9-1-1 calls and arriving ahead of the Urgences Santé ambulance in our city.

EMS Week 2015

Councillor Ruth Kovac and I joined Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson in applauding these life savers for their heroic work, day and night. Kovac and I first got involved in EMS back in 1980, responding to emergency calls in an era when there were still police ambulances along with private companies doing this work. It’s gratifying to see that the work that we did in pioneering the early days of EMS continues and thrives with a new generation of volunteers.

Riding aboard Cote Saint-Luc's first Rescue Medical Fire vehicle RMF-11, 1981

Glenn J. Nashen riding aboard Cote Saint-Luc’s first Rescue Medical Fire vehicle RMF-11, 1981

Today, EMS responds to more than 3000 emergency calls each year. The dedicated corps of 80 volunteers cover shifts 24/7 in a modern fleet of First Response vehicles. Sometimes, as many as four simultaneous calls are responded to in Cote Saint-Luc.

Despite the efforts of the mega-city of Montreal in trying to take over Cote Saint-Luc’s extraordinary EMS at the outset of the mergers, Councillor Kovac and I, along with Anthony Housefather, championed the cause to save and keep our unique service. With the unswerving leadership of then MNA, Lawrence Bergman, special legislation was tabled in the National Assembly, recognizing CSL EMS as the authority in First Response on our territory.

Glenn J. Nashen, on duty, in Cote Saint-Luc's second ever First Response vehicle

Glenn J. Nashen, on duty, in Cote Saint-Luc’s second ever First Response vehicle

Today we thank our volunteers for their service and commitment. Our residents and our city is a safer, healthier place thanks in large part to them.

Flipping burgers at the EMS Week BBQ at 8100 Cote Saint-Luc Road

Flipping burgers at the EMS Week BBQ at 8100 Cote Saint-Luc Road

Medic Michael Nashen enjoying EMS Week BBQ

Medic Michael Nashen enjoying EMS Week BBQ

A custom designed EMS Week cake. Even the gloves were edible.

A custom designed EMS Week cake. Even the gloves were edible.

 

Preparing for disaster behind the scenes

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Emergency_preparedness_committee_March2015

Just because we live in one of the most peaceful communities in the Montreal area doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about what can go horribly wrong at any moment. And for this  reason some very specialized people gathered at Cote Saint-Luc city hall earlier this week to discuss disasters, large and small, natural and man-made.

The emergency preparedness plan of the City includes three vital groups of participants:

  • The City of Côte Saint-Luc, including the Mayor and Council, and employees;
  • Regional services, such as the Montreal Police, Montreal Fire Department, Urgences-santé and provincial and federal government;
  • YOU, the resident! Each person has a vital role to play in preparing for and mitigating the risks of disasters

The city has identified the following to be the most likely risks affecting our territory:

  1. Major fire
  2. Train accident or derailment
  3. Weather-related incident, such as an extreme snow- ice- or wind-storm, heat or cold spell, etc.
  4. Public health incident (pandemic or epidemic)
  5. Power failure during a period of extreme temperature (heat or cold)
  6. Terrorist activity
  7. Shortage, absence or contamination of the water supply
  8. Computer network or communications network outage
  9. Hazardous materials incident
  10. Airplane crash

CSL Emergency Preparedness Committee met this week to review and analyze any threat to the city along with risk mitigation

 

As the chairman of the Emergency Preparedness Committee I ensure that we bring experts around the table each year to review and update our emergency plan and that we test the plan with our staff and volunteers and keep our residents informed and aware.

Last year CSL City Council made Emergency Preparedness a major priority for 2014. We held a public information meeting about emergency preparedness. We dedicated an entire issue of the CSL Courier to this important topic and we launched the CSL Alert Mass Notification System. CSL Alert allows you to opt-in to receive notifications via phone call, text message, e-mail and more based on locations you care about. You can choose to receive notifications about events that may affect your home, workplace, family’s schools and more. Visit http://www.cotesaintluc.org/Alert to learn more.

Urgences Santé website to be bilingual

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Jan. 21, 2015 | Suburban News | Click to enlarge

Jan. 21, 2015 | Suburban News | Click to enlarge

Thank you to D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum for his interest in advancing this dossier. Each time I contact him concerning local and language issues he and his skilled staff are quick to respond and to make representation to the relevant ministers. In this particular case, David’s assistance was significant in getting a quick and positive response from Urgences Santé.

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