Ottawa is one of six municipalities in Ontario which will split $2.5-million provincial dollars to establish new Urban Search and Rescue, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive, and Hazardous Materials teams.
"When disaster strikes, Ontario families need to have confidence that help is on the way. That's why we're providing communities across the province with funding to respond quickly and effectively to large-scale and complex emergencies," said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. "First responders put their lives on the line each and every day to protect us. That's why we are committed to providing these brave men and women with the tools they need to keep our communities and our families safe."
The government's investment will support 10 specialized teams in North Bay, Ottawa, Peterborough, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Windsor.
The province said these emergency response teams will be operated by their municipalities and support provincial efforts through an agreement with the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management.
The teams are expected to employ those with specialized rescue skills to help when people are trapped in collapsed structures, assist with life-saving operations and provide immediate medical assistance to survivors.
The money, announced Wednesday, will also assist teams responding to incidents involving the uncontrolled release of chemicals, biological agents, radioactive and nuclear contamination or explosions that cause widespread damage.
The province's ability to respond to provincial emergencies and lead educational and training programs to improve emergency response is also supposed to be given a boost through these dollars.
"When emergencies happen, local first responders are on the scene. When additional or more technical resources are required, the fire marshal coordinates and activates these specialized teams to assist local authorities. We are pleased the government is providing these teams with new and increased funding to help them better protect the communities they serve," said Jon Pegg, Ontario's Fire Marshal and Chief of Emergency Management.