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Ontario Testing its Ability to Respond to Large-Scale Emergencies

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Ontario Testing its Ability to Respond to Large-Scale Emergencies

Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Exercise Underway In Windsor

Ministry of the Solicitor General

Ontario is co-ordinating Operation Border Cities Response, which mimics the aftermath of a fictitious earthquake in Windsor. 

The exercise -- coordinated by the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) -- involves a Heavy Urban Search And Rescue (HUSAR) operation following the simulated collapse of a large industrial building.

The exercise scenario calls for the deployment of the Toronto HUSAR team, as well as a specialized team from the OPP. Two teams will assist local first responders in Windsor locate and rescue simulated victims trapped in a former industrial site, which has been made to look like a collapsed building.

Key participants include:

The provincial and Windsor emergency operations centres will be collaborating closely during the exercise to co-ordinate support to first responders on the scene of the HUSAR operation.

The exercise is an important step in Ontario's ongoing work to respond and implement the recommendations of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry.

Quick Facts

  • Approximately 100 people are involved in the exercise, which lasts from Feb. 24-26.
  • Toronto’s HUSAR is available for deployment across Ontario under an agreement between the OFMEM and the City of Toronto.
  • Ontario provides up to $300,000 in annual funding to support HUSAR training and exercises and to purchase specialized equipment pursuant to a memorandum of understanding with City of Toronto.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Our government is focused on making sure we keep our families and communities safe. Training initiatives such as this HUSAR exercise is a good way for us to test the progress we have made so far. It brings together all of our safety partners, and ensures our emergency system is co-ordinated, responsive and effective.”

Yasir Naqvi

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

“Since the release of Justice Paul Belanger’s report, the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management and its partners have been working to enhance Ontario’s emergency response system. This exercise will highlight those enhancements already made and identify additional opportunities for improvement.”

Tadeusz (Ted) Wieclawek

Ontario Fire Marshal and Chief, Emergency Management

“Windsor Fire and Rescue Services and our local partners from EMS and the Windsor Police Service are proud to be hosting these three days of training. While emergency preparedness is a year-round, 24/7 commitment, specialized training like this, shared with HUSAR, the OPP and OFMEM adds another level of readiness for all of us.”

Bruce Montone

Chief, Windsor Fire and Rescue Services

“Toronto Heavy Urban Search and Rescue is pleased to participate in this multi-agency exercise to validate our team skills and self-sustaining operations.”

Jim Sales

Chief, Toronto Fire Services

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