York U seminar on Elliot Lake mall collapse will look at emergency management lessons


TORONTO, March 7, 2013 – The partial collapse of the roof of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ontario, and the tragedy that followed, may yield valuable lessons for managing major similar disasters on a global scale, according to the organizers of an event that will be held at York University on Friday, March 8.

The seminar on the Elliot Lake Mall Collapse is part of a series of disaster forensic and lessons-learned, sessions organized by the Disaster & Emergency Management Program at York. The series has examined the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, but this time will focus in on a smaller-scale event that offers big lessons.

The public inquiry into the Elliot Lake mall collapse is examining detailed evidence and assessing responsibilities. In contrast, the event at York will focus on the challenges that the Elliot Lake tragedy reveals, says Professor Ali Asgary, director of York’s graduate program in disaster & emergency management. These challenges appear to be in areas such as mobilization, urban heavy search and rescue, logistics, government funding, command control and coordination, and media coverage, as well risk management in public facilities and structural design and maintenance, enforcement and ethics, he says.

The seminar will feature ten speakers from the public and private sectors, discussing the following: why we don’t seem to learn from disasters; why buildings collapse; ethical issues raised after the Elliot Lake mall collapse; the role of the media in critical messaging about disaster response; emergency management and planning for shopping malls and government buildings; and other topics.

The program, with speakers’ bios, is at this link: http://disasterlessons.info.yorku.ca/program/.

WHAT: Disaster Forensic and Lessons Learned Seminar: Elliot Lake Mall Collapse

WHEN: Friday March 8, 2013, 9am-4:30pm

WHERE: Atkinson Building, Room 109 (Harry Crowe Room), York University

MAP: Building 33 on the Keele campus MAP

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Media Contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 / wallsj@yorku.ca