On Saturday 21st May 2022 a high-impact derecho event affects the Windsor to Quebec City
corridor, it was described by meteorologists as an historic derecho and one of the most impactful thunderstorms in Canadian history. Winds up to 190 km/h as well as several tornados caused widespread and extensive damage along a path that extends for 1,000 kilometers.
On Friday 3rd June Community Disaster Response Ontario (CDRO) was contacted by Team Rubicon Canada (TRC) to collaborate on a response to assist residents in the eastern Ontario communities of, the City of Clarence Rockland and the Township of Alfred Plantagenet. Integrated planning commenced and continued through the weekend, with the two non-governmental organizations developing a Concept of Operations.
On Monday, 6th June deployment commenced at 07:00hrs, with an Advance Team establishing an Incident Command Post and a Camp/Forward Operating Base. An integrated Incident Management Team was established and stood up at that time, with TRC fulfilling the functional roles of; Incident Commander and Planning Section Chiefs and CDRO the functions of; Operations Section Chief, Logistics Section Chief and Finance & Administration Section Chief.
The first operational period, that afternoon, saw the deployment of Survey Strike Teams working with Community Emergency Management Coordinators to assess and evaluate the impacts of the derecho, to define operational areas. This led to the development of work orders and on Tuesday, 7th June Sawyer Strike Teams were briefed at 07:30 and commenced with recovery of residential properties in both communities.
The impact of the recovery efforts was not only effective and efficient, but also emotional for the members of TRC, CDRO and the residents. The following are quotes from residents:
“We would not have been able to do it without you guys… you were just amazing. Elderly people, we can’t lift heavy stuff – branches and things like that. We can only do so much picking up things off the ground.”
“Team Rubicon Canada volunteers recently collaborated with CDRO on an operation in eastern Ontario, in response to the wind event of May 21, 2022. The two organizations worked seamlessly fulfilling roles in the Command and General Staff within the Incident Command Post. Effective and efficient relationships were quickly established to manage the response that assisted property owners in their recovery within the affected area. I look forward to continuing our relationship and the opportunity to work together again.”
~Rick Henderson – Incident Commander
The derecho storm is expected to among the ten costliest severe storm events on record in Canada. The cooperation, collaboration and coordination demonstrated by TRC and CDRO is a model for NGOs on supporting communities during prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery activities for hazards, threats, and risks.