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April 29, 2002
City receives funding to strengthen emergency response
  
The City of Toronto will be better prepared to respond to emergencies including
natural disasters and acts of terrorism, thanks to the provincial government's
commitment today to fund a total of $400,000 annually to the City.

"I'm pleased; this funding is a step in the right direction," said Mayor Mel
Lastman. "I've been asking for funds to improve our emergency response
capabilities since 9/11; today's announcement shows me Queen's Park has been
listening."

"This news puts Toronto on the map as a centre of expertise to conduct heavy
urban search and rescue and to respond to chemical, biological, radiological
and nuclear emergencies," said Alan Speed, Toronto's Fire Chief. "It builds on
the existing capabilities of Toronto's emergency responders. We now have the
resources to develop and deploy specialized teams to respond to large-scale or
complex, natural or human-caused emergencies, without depleting the routine
response capability of the City. We aim to eliminate or reduce the impact of
these emergencies on human lives, property and the environment."

"The City's integrated and comprehensive approach to ensuring public safety is
enhanced thanks to the support announced today by the Government of Ontario,"
said Councillor Brad Duguid -- Ward 38 Scarborough Centre, Chair of the City's
Community Services Committee and the Task Force on Community Safety.

Toronto Fire Services will continue to train and equip a competent,
multi-disciplinary team to respond to heavy urban search and rescue (HUSAR)
emergencies in a planned, co-ordinated and timely manner. The team will respond
to collapsed or partially collapsed buildings and related emergencies in
Toronto and throughout Ontario, when a full response to such emergencies is
beyond the ability of the local service providers.

Toronto Fire Services will also continue to enhance a team to respond to
chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies in Toronto
and throughout Ontario. The Ontario Fire Marshal has designated Toronto as one
of the sites of a tri-city response team (along with Ottawa and Windsor),
recognizing the City's existing expertise in handling hazardous situations.

The Emergency Measures Ontario Provincial Operations Centre is responsible for
receiving requests for emergency assistance and for deploying the HUSAR and
CBRN teams.


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