I refer to “Community” and mean this to represent any group of people united with a cause for emergency planning and preparedness. A community may be just that, a town or city; a business; organization; government or department; a volunteer based service group; a County or a Parish, Province or State; or a Country
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES
The accepted responsibility for emergency management in Canada first lies with the individual(s)/communities directly affected by the event. It is recognized and accepted that individuals and communities need to be responsible for themselves and those under their care. Being responsible simple means that appropriate preparedness and planning, logical response capability and capacity and common sense measures are to be taken prior to seeking or requesting help from various levels of society or government. When an event overwhelms the capability and or capacities of an individual/community or when an event is highly devastating or wide spread affecting large populations or geographical area, assistance and leadership is available from Municipal, Provincial and Federal governments.
Because of the diverse events that could affect communities, it is not practical to prevent or plan for every event individually. In Canada Emergency Management follows an All Hazards approach.
4 PILLARS OF ALL HAZARDS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLANNING
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLANNING
Emergency Response Planning has traditionally been left to the first responder community, (Police, Fire and Ambulance). As the world becomes more complicated with terrorism and the threat of Pandemic outbreaks, more attention is being focused on response planning.
Traditionally, Response Planning consists of establishing in advance the authority, framework, trigger points and the roles and responsibilities of a community that must respond to an event. Having this in place, in advance, assures that infrastructures, funding, training and resources are in place and managed in an appropriate balance with the goals and deliverables of the plan.
Emergency Planning must be comprehensive and based on science, research and best practices. The established framework provides a structure to achieve a successful planning process while keeping it true to the basic tenets mentioned above.
Response plans should follow the All Hazards Approach and incorporate the 4 pillars of Comprehensive Emergency Management. The response plan will outline the manner in which a community will respond when called upon to do so. It is a living, dynamic plan that will change as the community and it’s mandate changes in concert with political, cultural and environmental changes occur to changing and new threats.
The main common components of Emergency Response Planning are broken down to 6 primary steps, each building on the latter. The process is linear, meaning that the starting point initiates the process and each step runs concurrent to each other and dependant on the latter being completed prior to the next step beginning. It is crucial that data, infrastructures and processes from one step be completed prior to the next step commencing.
Strategic Guidance is of paramount importance in securing an emergency management process or structure within a community. Strategic Guidance usually starts with a “service delivery model”, that is to say “How the work will get done.” Strategic Guidance requires commitment from the senior officials of the community; authority, financial, resourcing, time and a place within the normal business functions of the community. A model or framework provides appropriate principles and elements in the right context for leadership and coordination of the work and deliverables.
The emergency management model must reflect the reality of the community, the stakeholders and the environment it must serve. It is important to invest the time, up front in the research and choosing of an established model or the development of a custom model tailored to meet the community’s needs. This is foundation work on which all the other facets of emergency management must rely on.
The model will “share the pain,” in essence be able to keep the scope of the work in manageable pieces so that no one individual or group is over taxed and that the most stakeholder representation is captured and the required work / deliverables are realized in a timely fashion. Having a structure that cross sects the community and its partners, strengthens relationships and secures a “buy in” from all stakeholders. The model will also serve as a reminder to all involved as to what the process is, the importance of the program and its place within the community’s organizational chart.