Military liaison officer first point of contact for province

LCdr Steve Shute

LCdr Steve Shute, Other Government Department Liaison Officer.

SLt MJ Cserhazi, MARPAC PAO ~

British Columbia’s unique geography and tectonic positioning means it is not a question of if, but when the next major earthquake disaster will strike.

Other Government Department Liaison Officer (OGD LO), LCdr Steve Shute, and 17 Regional Liaison Officer (RLO) counterparts, are the keys the province will use to unlock the military’s emergency tool box when it turns to Joint Task Force Pacific (JTF(P)) for help.

LCdr Shute’s efforts help JTF(P) build stronger ties and relationships with B.C.’s provincial emergency organizations, which are ultimately responsible for any kind of response to natural or man-made disasters within the province.

“My position creates a bridge between the province and the CAF that is designed to quickly respond to the need for assistance from the province,” says LCdr Shute.

He helps provincial emergency managers understand the unique resources available from the CAF, and advises them on how those resources might be best suited to assist during an emergency response.

His role, and the support role of JTF(P), was recently tested during Exercise Staunch Maple.

From June 7-10, JTF(P) provided simulated emergency assistance to the Province of British Columbia during the exercise, which was nested within BC’s Exercise Coastal Response.

“Being prepared to deal with the immediate aftermath of an earthquake is a shared responsibility. Everyone needs to be prepared, from the individual to the highest level of government. That is where the OGD LO plays a role,” he says.

His timely advice to JTF(P)’s provincial partners allows civilian authorities to better understand and make requests through a formalized process known as a Request for Assistance (RFA).

“An RFA is the formal document that requests a desired effect for assistance from the province to the federal family, which is where the CAF is often uniquely prepared to deliver the support requested,” says LCdr Shute.  “I provide essential situational information back to JTF(P) from its partner organizations so that it can take appropriate actions in support of the province.”

When he is working in conjunction with the province, LCdr Shute is located at the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre (PECC) located in Saanich. His essential work, as well as that of the RLOs, will continue to keep the province and JTF(P) in close partnership as B.C. continues to prepare for natural disaster event.

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