McGuinty Government Confirms Commitment To Specialized Emergency Response Teams

    Special Units Strengthen Province's Ability To Respond To Emergencies

    TORONTO, Nov. 21 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government will continue to invest
in Toronto's Heavy Urban Search And Rescue (HUSAR) and Chemical, Biological,
Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) teams, Community Safety and Correctional Services
Minister Rick Bartolucci said today.
    "Our government has improved Ontario's ability to prevent and respond to
emergencies," said Bartolucci. "The CBRN teams and the HUSAR team are key
elements in the resources we have to react to large scale emergencies or a
terrorist attack."
    Bartolucci made the announcement on the eve of a national exercise
conducted in Toronto that brings Canada's five HUSAR teams together for
training purposes and to increase coordination between responders. The
minister will visit the exercise site and talk with participants on
November 22.
    The McGuinty government is providing $300,000 in annual funding to help
support the training, administration and operation of Toronto's HUSAR team.
The team is made up of fire, police and emergency medical staff, as well as
physicians, specialists in structural engineering, hazardous materials, heavy
rigging, search (including highly trained dogs) and logistics. The government
is also providing $100,000 to the Toronto CBRN team for training, exercises
and equipment.
    "Ontario is better prepared than ever before to respond to a major
emergency, whether natural or man-made," said Bartolucci. "Specialized teams
such as HUSAR and CBRN are the best of the best and we will continue to
support their training and development."
    In addition, the Ottawa Fire Department and Windsor Fire and Rescue
Services each receive $100,000 annually from the province to operate their
CBRN teams. The Ontario Provincial Police's Provincial Emergency Response Team
also has a CBRN mandate. The teams are available for deployment anywhere in
Ontario in support of local communities and their emergency responders. The
province funds the deployment of all CBRN teams outside their "home"
    There are six other CBRN teams (Cornwall, Peterborough, North Bay, Sault
Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Waterloo region) that perform complementary roles
to the four principal units. The province, through the Office of the Fire
Marshal, provided support for the creation of the six teams and continues to
provide equipment, training and technical assistance.

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Laura Blondeau, Minister's Office, (416)
325-4973, (416) 938-9757 (cell); Anthony Brown, Communications Branch, (416)

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