The District of Saanich will hold a day-long emergency management exercise Oct. 17 at G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre. The drill will start with an ammonia incident at 8:30 a.m. at Pearkes, followed by establishing a fully-staffed emergency response and departmental operations centre at the Saanich Fire Department. The district says the training exercise is thanks to $25,000 from the Union of BC Municipalities Emergency Preparedness Fund. Pearkes Rec Centre will stay open to the public for the duration of the exercise and residents may see signs of the drill in Saanich throughout the day. The Saanich Command Vehicle will be at Pearkes as a site incident command post and the emergency notification page on the Saanich website will be activated as a test. The district says volunteers will establish a reception centre to support evacuees at a church that has signed an agreement with the district to be used in an emergency. “The exercise is a significant investment in Saanich’s emergency management and training program,” Saanich Deputy Fire Chief Frank MacDonald said in a release. “This is an excellent opportunity for staff to practice their roles in assessing and responding to a simulated incident and for us to learn how we can improve our current emergency plans.” The district says the exercise was coordinated over several months and will help develop an exercise program for 2019 to 2021.