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Gildernew launches New Emergency Planning Agreement with Fire Service

3 December, 2007


Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA and the Chief Fire Officer Colin Lammey, have today launched a new emergency planning agreement at Stormont.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is part of DARD's ongoing contingency planning process for enhancing its preparedness for dealing with any local outbreak of epizootic disease. The Minister and the Chief Fire Officer Colin Lammey were accompanied at the launch by Chief Veterinary Officer Bert Houston, Dr Perpetua McNamee, Director of the Contingency Planning Unit at DARD, and senior officers from NI Fire and Rescue Service.

Following the signing of the Memorandum, the Minister said:

"The aim of this MOU is to ensure effective co-operation between NIFRS and DARD's Veterinary Service, both in preparing for, and dealing with, an outbreak of epizootic disease such as Foot-and-Mouth Disease or Avian Influenza. I am very proud that my department has been able to work so closely with the fire service to achieve this excellent example of inter-agency co-operation.

"This MOU provides a framework for co-operation which clarifies roles and responsibilities. In practice this includes planning, training, mobilising and inter-agency working at an incident or outbreak, which will help processes on the ground run much more smoothly."

The Minister also thanked the Chief Fire Officer for the valuable contribution already made by the fire service in provision of Incident Command and Control training to Veterinary Service Field staff. The training model had since been rolled out across Veterinary Service and was now incorporated in staff instructions for securing the site and controlling operations on premises where epizootic disease has been suspected or confirmed.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. This MOU is part of DARD's ongoing contingency planning process for enhancing its preparedness for dealing with an outbreak of epizootic disease in the North of Ireland.
  2. Memoranda of Understanding have already been agreed with a number of Operational Partners and other Government Departments and more are in the process of being finalised.

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