The Association started as a regional initiative in 1993 as a result of an invitation on the part of one institution in Cumberland County to have the Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) Zone Controller, provide advice and guidance in the preparation of their emergency plan, in accordance with established legislation.
The offshoot of this meeting resulted in a request to repeat the process and extend the passage of information to a group of several other facilities in this area. This highlighted the requirement to make such planning guidance and information available to a much wider interest group.
These initial developments led to the assembly of a large number of Administrators and Emergency Planners (from special care institutions located in Central Zone) to attend a workshop conducted at Debert in May 1993. This was the first official workshop of the Special Care Emergency Planning Programme (SCEPP).
The SCEPP initiative in Central Zone gave rise to several additional regional committees in Central Zone over the next three years. These committees operated with the aim of providing a forum for the exchange of emergency planning information and establishing mutual aid arrangements to assist one another in both training activities and during emergencies. This situation prevailed until 1996, when the responsibility for the management of Special Care Facilities had been divided between the Departments of Health (DOH) and Community Services (DCS).
The newly appointed Departmental Emergency Preparedness Officer (DEPO) of the Department of Community Services, Harry Chapman, approached the Central Zone Controller of EMO with a proposal to investigate expansion of the SCEPP initiative to all special care institutions in the Province. This proposal was supported by the DOH and the Director of EMO.
This expansion initiative resulted in two separate two-day workshops, one in Mainland Nova Scotia and a second one in Cape Breton. Both of these workshops had large attendance (140 -150) and very well received. In addition the SCEPP Zone Committee Organization was expanded across the province with aims similar to those of the original Central Zone Committee (training support and mutual aid). This follow up resulted in several more one-day workshops in the Western Zone and the last major area of the province (the Metro area) conducted a major workshop in February 1998.
By the end of 1997 the SCEPP initiative had expanded to a province wide, cooperative, joint volunteer/government programme that was well supported by Special Care institutions (with established committees) in all areas of the province.
During this period an ad hoc Provincial Committee was established consisting of representatives of each of the provincial SCEPP committees, (Central – two committees, Cape Breton, Western & Metro). To round out this committee, representatives from DOH, DCS, EMO, the Office of the Fire Marshall, the Senior Citizen’s Secretariat and other interested parties were invited to attend the meetings from time to time.
SCEPP has continued its role as an education and resource group and submitted funding requests to DOH and DCS (in the form of a Memorandum of Agreement) to provide a small budget. This was granted and some of the funds we used to produce an Emergency Planning manual and to support continued course development and delivery.
In November 2000, the Special Care Emergency Planning Programme became incorporated under the Societies Act of Nova Scotia. At this time the name of the Association was changed to the Special Care Emergency Planning Association of Nova Scotia (SCEPA).
On May 10th & 11th 2001, during the Emergency Preparedness Week, SCEPA held its first Annual General Meeting. This was an excellent day and a half educational conference on emergency planning, where Raymond LaFond (from Emergency Services, Health Canada) was the guest speaker.