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High River prepares for disasters with mock meteorite strike | Canadian Insurance

High River prepares for disasters with mock meteorite strike

Mock floods may discourage people from getting involved if they don't want to relive the 2013 disaster

Homes in High River were underwater for weeks after the 2013 Alberta floods—and provincially, economic losses were in the billions—but the town is determined to be more prepared should a meteorite hit.

“We’re beyond the first responder, pulling-people-out-of-the-rubble stage when this exercise takes place but it’s the same principle _ we know people want to help and rather than push them away we want to figure out how to work with them and make our community safe,” says Carly Benson, interim director of emergency management for High River.

“We took a look at the exercises we’ve done in the past couple of years. We’ve done two flood exercises and an ice storm-animal rescue and we thought we wanted to do something a little more fun to try and engage our community in emergency management.”

In the 2013 floods, High River found it tough to connect the 10,000 volunteers with residents needing help. The town hopes the meteorite preparation workshop will help the community improve its crisis response, but there won’t likely be more mock flood disasters, Benson says.

“We feel if we continually focus on things like floods there’s going to be a barrier for people getting involved because they don’t want to relive memories of past disasters.”