A few weeks ago, a mall roof collapsed at Elliot Lake, killing two people and injuring several more. Thanks to the quick action of Heavy Urban Search and Rescue units, many people were saved from even more injury. But due to funding cuts, units like these may soon be absent from Canada.
A 2007 study by Public Safety Canada warned the Conservative government that funding cuts to Canada's five Heavy Urban Search and Rescue units may lead to their disbandment.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says that since 90 percent of emergencies are managed by municipalities, funding to the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program will end next year and be redirected to Police, Fire and First Responders instead.
But municipal emergency responders don't have the training or the equipment to handle high-severity disasters such as a building collapse or the funds to cover the high operations and maintenance costs.
Tell Conservatives that they must not dissolve a "national resource" like the HUSAR teams.
To: Prime Minister Stephen Harper Public Safety Minister Vic Toews
We, the undersigned, ask that you continue funding Canada's five Heavy Urban Search and Rescue units.
These teams are highly trained and specialize in difficult rescues where adequate emergency resources may be lacking.
Municipal emergency responders do not have the training or equipment to handle catastrophic events, as evidenced by Elliot Lake's inability to implement rescue operations quickly enough after the mall roof collapse.
In light of this recent tragedy, to continue to be complacent about emergency preparedness would be carelessly negligent.
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