What is an Emergency?
'a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise.'
cited by the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act
Some emergencies, such as fires and explosions, happen frequently with localized impact. Others, such as tornadoes and ice storms, are more rare but have severe consequences on the community and the environment. Some emergencies, such as hurricanes, are predictable and offer time to prepare; while others, such as major traffic accidents and spills of hazardous material are unexpected and give no warning.
The number, intensity and consequences both in terms of people affected and financial costs of emergencies and disasters are increasing.
Emergency management is a risk management activity. It includes programs and activities to deal with actual or potential emergencies or disasters.
Prevention and Mitigation are the things we do to prevent an emergency from happening but, if it does, to reduce or eliminate the impact. This includes structural (eg. building reinforcement, infrastrucutre renewal) and non-structural measures (eg. legislation, by-laws, and codes)
Preparedness is the steps taken to ensure an effective response to an emergency, such as writing plans, training staff, exercising plans and increasing public awareness.
Response is the actions to respond to an emergency, which could include activating plans and providing information about the emergency to the public and other stakeholders.
Recovery is the activities after the immediate emergency has ended in order to restore to normal conditions the emotional, social, economic and physical well-being of the community, as well as, the physical infrastructure.
The foundation of emergency management is the identification and assessment of the hazards and risks to public safety that could cause emergencies.
To create safe, secure and disaster resilient communities in the Municipality of Meaford through the implementation and maintenance of comprehensive risk-based emergency management programs and plans.
Emergency management starts with individuals being responsible for their own safety, and the well-being of their families, and progresses through the levels of community as the magnitude of emergencies and the resources required to deal with them expands.
A Community Emergency Management Plan is a partnership among Municipal departments, local first response agencies, businesses and the community at large working to develop and implement progams and plans to protect our community during emergencies.
Community Emergency Management Plan activities include:
- Having emergency plans governing the provision of necessary services during an emergency and the procedures under and the manner in which employees of the municipality and others will respond to the emergency
- Conducting training programs and exercises to ensure the readiness of municipal employees and other persons to act under the plan
- Carrying out public awareness and education programs on the risks to public safety and on public preparedness for emergencies.
Emergency Preparedness Benefits Everyone!