Bragg Creek area residents and passersby shouldn't panic when they see multiple emergency responders this morning.

An emergency exercise starts at 8 a.m. today and continues until around 1 p.m. to test Rocky View County's evacuation plan for the treed hamlet.

RVC fire chief Randy Smith says it's one they're excited to launch after being delayed by the pandemic.

"It will give us a chance to test our plan," says Smith. "We've been putting a lot of work into our evaluation planning in the county and this is our opportunity to get our crews out, right from the boots on the ground to making sure that all the communications come to the municipal offices here and then out to our elected officials and the public."

He says residents won't be inconvenienced, nor will they be asked to participate in an evacuation.

"The crews will be going door-to-door. They'll talk to residents and just let them know they're going through the exercise. We have an evacuation guide that they'll hand out to give residents an opportunity to just think about what would they do in the event of a fire, flood, or severe weather event, and what would they would need to evacuate.

"Other than that. it's more of an education for the public to think about what they would do. It's important for the public to know their emergency response agency is planning and is exercising its plans and only getting better. We're looking for strengths and weaknesses and to go forward and only make things better for them." 

RVC Mayor Don Kochan says these exercises are vital.

"These emergency exercises can't be stressed enough," says Mayor Kochan. "It certainly gives us a lot of knowledge as far as where some of our deficiencies are when we do respond to a major emergency.

"This one that we're going to be doing is involving a number of groups and with that, we're going to be able to see what roles each party has to play, and to ensure that they are at their optimum when they do unfold their procedure and their plans accordingly."

He says it's also an opportunity to ensure there isn't a duplication of services between the agencies that are brought together.

He says residents do have an important role to play.

"So once we do understand what needs to be done in addressing a big emergency, we need to ensure we're able to communicate that to the community very quickly so they can be part of it, and they can be put in a safe situation accordingly."

Speaking about the educational component, Fire chief Smith says emergency management starts with the people in the community.

"It's so important that people think about this, that they are prepared for themselves, for their family for their neighbours. There are only so many fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances to go around and we're fairly good at dealing with one or two events happening at one time, but when you have a major event, resources are stretched and that's just a fact of life, no matter where you live. So residents have to be prepared, and they're the foundation of our emergency management plan." 

He says during the exercise they'll available to answer questions from residents to help them be prepared for an emergency.

As part of the exercise, an evacuation centre will be established at the Springbank Park for All Seasons and the emergency command centre will be based out of the Rocky View County Hall.