BRITISH
COLUMBIA
Emergency
Management
System
2016
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 3
Acknowledgements
This guide was produced through the committed efforts of representatives of
the following organizations and groups:
LOCAL AND REGIONAL AUTHORITIES
BC Emergency Health Services
Emergency programs
Fire departments
First Nations
Integrated Partnership for Regional Emergency Management in Metro
Vancouver (IPREM)
Municipalities
Police services
Provincial Health Services Authority
Regional districts
Rural and urban communities
TransLink
Vancouver Coastal Health
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT AND CROWN CORPORATIONS
BC Coroners Service
BC Ferries
BC Housing
BC Hydro
BC Oil and Gas Commission
Emergency Management BC
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Energy and Mines
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Office of the Fire Commissioner
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
4 Government of British Columbia
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Port Metro Vancouver
Public Safety Canada
RCMP
CORPORATE SECTOR
FortisBC
Pacific Northern Gas Ltd.
Spectra Energy Corp
Telus
ACADEMIA
Justice Institute of British Columbia
Royal Roads University
Simon Fraser University
VOLUNTEER SECTOR
Canadian Red Cross
Emergency Social Services volunteers
Search and Rescue volunteers
St. John Ambulance
The Salvation Army
Volunteer BC
PRIVATE SECTOR
Private consultants
We also gratefully acknowledge the use of reference materials from the
following agencies and institutions in the preparation of this guide:
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Justice Institute of British Columbia
Public Health Agency Canada
Public Safety Canada
University of Washington
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency
A list of these references is provided at the end of this guide.
CONTENTS
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 5
Contents
Foreword ........................................................................................... 9
1 Introduction ............................................................................... 11
2 Governance ................................................................................ 13
Legislated levels of responsibility in emergency management .......................... 13
Oversight of BCEMS ............................................................................................................... 16
3 Foundations of BCEMS ............................................................... 17
History and background ...................................................................................................... 17
Adoption of BCERMS ....................................................................................................... 17
BCERMS review ................................................................................................................. 17
Essentials of BCEMS .............................................................................................................. 18
Vision ..................................................................................................................................... 18
Mission .................................................................................................................................. 18
Purpose ................................................................................................................................. 18
Guiding principles ............................................................................................................ 18
Four-phase approach to emergency management ............................................. 19
4 Getting Started ........................................................................... 23
Establishing an emergency management program.................................................. 23
Purpose ................................................................................................................................. 23
Organization ....................................................................................................................... 23
Elements .............................................................................................................................. 25
Identifying stakeholders ..................................................................................................... 26
Conducting an HRVA ............................................................................................................. 29
Definition ............................................................................................................................. 29
Process and participants ............................................................................................... 29
Outcomes ............................................................................................................................. 30
Components ........................................................................................................................ 30
CONTENTS
6 Government of British Columbia
5 Mitigation .................................................................................. 31
What is mitigation? ................................................................................................................ 31
Definition ............................................................................................................................. 31
Key considerations .......................................................................................................... 31
Options for managing risk .................................................................................................. 34
Mitigation tools and activities ........................................................................................... 35
Examples .............................................................................................................................. 35
Suggestions for successful implementation .......................................................... 36
Maintenance and continuous improvement ......................................................... 37
6 Preparedness ............................................................................. 39
What is preparedness? ......................................................................................................... 39
Definition ............................................................................................................................. 39
Key considerations .......................................................................................................... 39
Preparedness activities ........................................................................................................ 40
Planning ............................................................................................................................... 40
Resource planning ........................................................................................................... 43
Volunteer management ................................................................................................. 43
Training ................................................................................................................................ 44
Exercises .............................................................................................................................. 45
Public/stakeholder education..................................................................................... 47
Maintenance and continuous improvement ......................................................... 48
7 Response ................................................................................... 51
What is response? .................................................................................................................. 51
Definition ............................................................................................................................. 51
Key concepts....................................................................................................................... 51
Response goals ........................................................................................................................ 53
Response levels and structure .......................................................................................... 55
Levels ..................................................................................................................................... 55
Provincial emergency management structure ..................................................... 58
Additional coordinating elements for catastrophic events ............................. 59
Response roles of other stakeholders...................................................................... 61
Response management model .......................................................................................... 62
Primary management functions ................................................................................. 62
Personnel accountability ............................................................................................... 69
CONTENTS
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 7
Modular organization ..................................................................................................... 69
Establishment and transfer of command ............................................................... 70
Single command or unified command ..................................................................... 70
Unity and chain of command ....................................................................................... 70
Management by objectives ........................................................................................... 71
Action planning ................................................................................................................. 71
Manageable span of control ......................................................................................... 71
Common terminology ..................................................................................................... 72
Communication and information management................................................... 72
Comprehensive resource management .................................................................. 72
Response activities ................................................................................................................ 73
Incident/event notification .......................................................................................... 73
Activation ............................................................................................................................. 73
Development of situational awareness ................................................................... 74
Decision making ................................................................................................................ 75
Acquisition and deployment of resources ............................................................. 75
Demobilization .................................................................................................................. 76
Communication and information management......................................................... 77
Definition ............................................................................................................................. 77
Goals ...................................................................................................................................... 77
Characteristics of an effective mechanism ............................................................ 77
Resource management ......................................................................................................... 82
Definition ............................................................................................................................. 82
Process .................................................................................................................................. 82
8 Recovery .................................................................................... 85
What is recovery? ................................................................................................................... 85
Definition ............................................................................................................................. 85
Key concepts....................................................................................................................... 85
Recovery activities ................................................................................................................. 87
Information and engagement ...................................................................................... 87
Financial management ................................................................................................... 87
Continued provision of key services ........................................................................ 89
Business recovery ............................................................................................................ 90
Critical infrastructure recovery ................................................................................. 90
Disaster debris management ....................................................................................... 91
CONTENTS
8 Government of British Columbia
Stages of recovery .................................................................................................................. 94
Recovery models .................................................................................................................... 97
Recovery unit ..................................................................................................................... 97
Community resilience centre ...................................................................................... 97
Recovery Operations Centre (ROC) .......................................................................... 99
Recovery Steering Committee (RSC) ..................................................................... 100
Long-term recovery structure ................................................................................. 101
9 Moving Forward ....................................................................... 103
Emergency Program Self-Assessment Checklist .................................................... 103
Purpose .............................................................................................................................. 103
Process ............................................................................................................................... 103
Some additional information sources ......................................................................... 123
EMBC homepage ............................................................................................................ 123
EMBC webpage on phases of emergency management ................................ 125
Other sources .................................................................................................................. 126
Glossary ......................................................................................... 129
References ..................................................................................... 143
FOREWORD
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 9
Foreword
British Columbia is filled with vibrant communities and natural beauty, which
make it an incredible place to live and work. However, the rugged beauty of our
location and landscape can result in potential challenges to our management of
emergencies.
It is our government’s priority to give emergency personnel and emergency
management representatives the tools necessary to ensure a coordinated and
organized approach to emergencies and disasters. To guarantee this priority we
have brought in innovative legislation, developed full-scale emergency response
exercises, and adopted the British Columbia Emergency Management System
(BCEMS)a comprehensive framework that provides a structure for a
standardized approach to developing, coordinating and implementing
emergency management programs across the province.
While the safety of British Columbians was greatly improved by adopting the BC
Emergency Response Management System (BCERMS) in 2000, stakeholder
feedback and an Emergency Management BC review in 2011 determined there
was a clear need for an update to reflect operational experience, best practices,
organizational changes and shifts in the global field. We were faced with a choice
to continue down the path we’d become accustomed to, or to lead our province
in a new direction a direction that addresses current challenges and prepares
us for the future.
BCERMS has evolved into a four-phase emergency management system
Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery – rather than focusing
exclusively on emergency response. This evolution resulted in the preparation
of this BCEMS guide, which describes the broader picture of emergency
management in BC and provides a more integrated approach for those who are
responsible for emergency management and public safety.
As the Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, I can assure British
Columbians and our emergency management partners that not only does our
government endorse this guide, but we are also committed to exercising and
refining it to identify and close all apparent gaps.
Recognizing the successful implementation of any reform requires the support
of all levels of government, non-government organizations, volunteers, and
private and public sector agencies, I’d like to thank the many people who
contributed their perspectives, comments and feedback in the development of
this important initiative.
It is our time to lead and B.C. is capable. This is another step in the right
direction to protecting the safety of all British Columbians.
Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto
1 INTRODUCTION
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 11
1 – Introduction
The British Columbia Emergency Management System (BCEMS) is a
comprehensive framework that helps ensure a coordinated and organized
approach to emergencies and disasters. It is intended to:
Provide a structure for a standardized approach to developing, coordinating,
and implementing emergency management programs across the province
Establish guiding principles, processes, and a common terminology, thus
enabling a range of stakeholders to participate in all phases of emergency
management
Emphasize integration and partnerships that facilitate communication and
coordination on all levels
Developed under the authority set out in the BC Emergency Program Act and the
Emergency Program Management Regulation, BCEMS is standard practice for all
provincial government ministries and Crown corporations as indicated in the
Regulation. It is recommended as best practice for all emergency management
stakeholders in BC and applies to emergencies, disasters, and catastrophic events.
BCEMS evolved from and expands on the framework previously in place across
the province the BC Emergency Response Management System (BCERMS).
More information on the history and development of BCEMS and how it differs
from BCERMS is provided on page 17.
NOTE
With BCEMS incorporating the mitigation, preparedness, response, and
recovery phases of emergency management, provincial government
ministries and Crown corporations will need to determine the interface
between BCEMS and other legislative requirements.
This BCEMS guide is intended for those who exercise responsibilities in the
areas of emergency management and public safety, whether in the public
or private sectors. Its purpose is to:
Promote understanding of the BCEMS framework, including legislation
relevant to emergency management, guiding principles, terminology, etc.
Describe the four phases of emergency management and the components of
each phase
Enable emergency management practitioners in BC to apply BCEMS in
assessing, developing, and strengthening their emergency management
programs
2 GOVERNANCE
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 13
2 – Governance
Legislated levels of responsibility in
emergency management
Emergency management legislation and regulations set out the legal basis and
authority for actions taken by government to manage emergencies/disasters.
They also describe the responsibilities and powers of various levels of
government in mitigating, preparing for, responding to, and enabling recovery
from emergencies/disasters.
Here is an overview of key legislation and regulations relevant to emergency
management in BC:
LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT
LEGISLATION/REGULATION
WHAT IT DOES
Emergencies Act
Authorizes special temporary powers for federal
agencies to ensure safety and security during a
national emergency. These measures are
extraordinary and specific to the four types of national
emergencies:
Public welfare emergencies (natural or human
disasters)
Public order emergencies (threats to internal
security)
International emergencies (external threats)
War
Emergency Management Act
Establishes the legislative foundation for an integrated
approach to federal emergency management activities
Recognizes the roles that all stakeholders must play
in Canada’s emergency management system
Clarifies the leadership role and responsibilities of
the minister responsible for public safety, including
coordinating emergency management activities
among government institutions and in cooperation
with the provinces and other entities
Clarifies the emergency management responsibilities
of all other federal ministers
2 GOVERNANCE
14 Government of British Columbia
LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT
LEGISLATION/REGULATION
WHAT IT DOES
Emergency Program Act
Clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the
provincial government and local authorities
(municipalities or regional districts)
Provides extraordinary powers to the provincial
government and/or local authorities where
required
Requires local authorities to create and maintain an
emergency management organization
Allows for the provision of support to victims of
disasters through the Disaster Financial Assistance
(DFA) Program
Exempts emergency service workers from civil
liability
Emergency Program
Management Regulation
Tasks government ministers with developing
emergency plans and procedures
Identifies the ministers responsible for coordinating
government response to specific hazards
Lists the duties of ministries and Crown
corporations in an emergency/disaster
Other provincial legislation
and regulations, including:
Environmental Protection
Act
Public Health Act
Water Act
Wildfire Act
Transportation regulations
Identifies the responsibilities and tasks assigned to
provincial ministries, Crown corporations, and
stakeholders that relate to the role/function
addressed in the legislation/regulation
(municipality, regional
district, or Treaty First
Nation)
Local Authority Emergency
Management Regulation
(This regulation is part of the
Emergency Program Act.)
Tasks each local authority with establishing and
maintaining an emergency management
organization
Empowers the local authority to appoint
committees and a coordinator for the emergency
management organization
Authorizes the local authority to delegate its
powers and duties under the Act as may be
required
Requires the local authority to prepare local
emergency plans
2 GOVERNANCE
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 15
Local authorities establish their emergency management organizations
generally through the passage of an emergency bylaw that:
Defines emergency management requirements
Establishes the emergency management organization, sets out its terms of
reference, and lists its responsibilities
Outlines the powers of the council, including the power to declare a state of
local emergency
Funds emergency management
Authorizes mutual aid agreements
Provides an interface between the emergency management organization and
other local departments and agencies involved in mitigation or prevention
measures
Private sector industries, organizations, and agencies are expected to meet the
emergency management requirements set forth in legislation and regulations
that govern their areas of operation. For example, Part 4 of the Occupational
Health and Safety Regulation, which falls under the oversight of WorkSafeBC,
requires businesses and other employers to establish emergency preparedness
and response procedures, equipment, and training for their workplace.
In addition to meeting legislated and regulatory requirements, both private and
public entities may be guided by CSA Z1600, Emergency and Continuity
Management Program, a comprehensive standard for emergency management
and business continuity programs. The standard was developed by the Canadian
Standards Association (CSA), an organization accredited in Canada and other
countries to develop standards for processes, technologies, and products.
NOTE
Emergency management practitioners must
adhere to all other applicable legislation and
regulations not mentioned above.
2 GOVERNANCE
16 Government of British Columbia
Oversight of BCEMS
Three provincial government entities play key oversight roles with respect to
BCEMS.
Inter-Agency Emergency Preparedness Council (IEPC)
o The IEPC is composed of representatives from the provincial
government ministries and Crown corporations listed in Schedule 2 of
the Emergency Program Management Regulation. It is co-chaired by the
Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness under the Ministry of
Transportation and Infrastructure, and a representative of any other
member ministry or agency.
o IEPC facilitates the coordination of the emergency plans and procedures
that all government ministries must develop and set in place.
o The council struck a steering committee from among its member
agencies to oversee BCEMS.
BCEMS Steering Committee (BSC)
o Reporting to the IEPC, the BSC is co-chaired by Emergency Management
BC (see below) and a representative of any other member ministry or
agency.
o The committee is responsible for the governance and maintenance of
BCEMS. It has provided oversight for the preparation of this guide, which
reflects the input of and feedback from a range of emergency
management stakeholders.
Emergency Management BC (EMBC)
o EMBC is the provincial government’s lead coordinating agency for all
emergency management and business continuity activities. Operating
under the oversight of the Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness,
it is responsible for executive coordination, strategic planning, and
multi-agency integration in the area of emergency management.
o Ownership of the BCEMS guide resides with EMBC, which is responsible
for reviewing BCEMS every four years to ensure that the system
continues to reflect best practice and meet the needs in the field.
NOTE
An individual or group who wishes to recommend a substantive
change to BCEMS should
submit a proposal to EMBC, who
ensures that it is forwarded to the IEPC co-chairs for review and
action. Any changes to BCEMS shall be documented in this guide,
and the appropriate updates posted on the EMBC website.
3 FOUNDATIONS OF BCEMS
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 17
3 – Foundations of BCEMS
History and background
Adoption of BCERMS
In 2000 the Province of British Columbia developed and adopted the BC
Emergency Response Management System (BCERMS). The adoption was
formalized through the publication of the BCERMS Overview (Interim) by IEPC
and the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP), the predecessor of EMBC.
BCERMS utilized the structure and fundamentals of the Incident Command
System (ICS). Originally developed as a fire response management system by
various jurisdictions in the United States, ICS has been widely adopted by first
responders and emergency management programs throughout North America.
The use of BCERMS was made mandatory for the BC government and was
adopted by numerous local authorities and stakeholders from across the
province. The system was designed to:
Standardize the process for delivering a coordinated response to
emergencies/disasters
Guide key government ministries and Crown corporations in preparing their
emergency plans
Clarify the emergency response functions of supporting ministries
BCERMS review
In 2009 EMBC conducted a thorough review of BCERMS. This study concluded
that despite BCERMS many successes, there was a clear need to update it to
reflect operational experience, best practices, organizational changes, and shifts
in the field of emergency management. The study specifically recommended that
BCERMS evolve to a four-phase emergency management system, rather than
focus exclusively on emergency response.
In 2011 the BCERMS Refresh Project began, which involved emergency
management stakeholders from across the province. The project resulted in the
preparation of this guide, which describes the modified system, now called
BCEMS, which incorporates the four phases of emergency management. (More
information on these phases is provided in subsequent chapters of this guide.)
3 FOUNDATIONS OF BCEMS
18 Government of British Columbia
Essentials of BCEMS
Vision
Resilient communities across British Columbia
Mission
To facilitate the use of a proactive, collaborative, and integrated approach to
emergency management to minimize loss and promote effective response and
recovery in BC
Purpose
BCEMS is a comprehensive framework that helps ensure a coordinated and
organized approach to emergencies/disasters. It provides a structure for a
standardized approach to developing, coordinating, and implementing
emergency management programs across the province.
Guiding principles
These guiding principles reflect the fundamental values that influence the
practice of emergency management in BC.
Health and safety
Health and safety are of primary importance in emergency management.
The equal dignity of all people must be respected, along with their customs
and culture, and their fundamental right to the necessities of life.
Shared responsibility
Emergency management is a responsibility shared by all – government,
business and industry, not-for-profit organizations, and the public.
Stakeholders comply with applicable legal and regulatory obligations by
developing and implementing plans to manage disasters within their
jurisdiction, organization, or area of responsibility.
All-hazards approach
Potential hazards that may cause an emergency/disaster are identified,
prioritized, and addressed in order to mitigate risk and consequences.
3 FOUNDATIONS OF BCEMS
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 19
Collaboration and stakeholder engagement
Stakeholders collaborate in pursuing an integrated and unified approach to
emergency management, thus enhancing capabilities and capacity, and
reducing costs. Open lines of communication, mutual respect, and effective
coordination of multi-agency efforts lay the foundation for this approach.
Common approach
BCEMS is the required practice for provincial ministries and Crown
corporations. Other stakeholders are strongly encouraged to use this
framework. BCEMS is based on ICS principles, such as flexibility, scalability,
and adaptability.
Clear communication
Valid, accurate information is communicated to stakeholders clearly and in a
timely manner. This includes coordination of proactive public messaging on
known and impending hazards before, during, and after an emergency/
disaster.
Continuous improvement
Continuous improvement is supported by a sharing of research, plans,
education, training, exercise, and experience. Learning about what works
and what does not work can help stakeholders better prepare for future
emergencies/disasters. Hence, operational reviews, documentation, and
feedback from those involved in the emergency management process are
critical.
Four-phase approach to emergency management
BCEMS views emergency management as a continuous process consisting of
four interconnected phases. These may occur sequentially or, in some cases,
concurrently, but they are not independent of each other.
PHASE
WHAT IT MEANS
Mitigation
Steps are taken to identify, prevent, eliminate, or reduce the risk
and impact of hazards.
The purpose of this phase is to protect lives, property, and the
environment; reduce economic and social disruption; and improve
response capabilities.
It covers structural measures (e.g., construction of floodways and
dikes, earthquake retrofitting) and non-structural measures (e.g.,
building codes, land-use planning, tax and insurance incentives).
3 FOUNDATIONS OF BCEMS
20 Government of British Columbia
PHASE
WHAT IT MEANS
Preparedness
Action is taken to prepare for emergency response and recovery.
Plans are created to support the continuity of emergency operations
and other mission critical services.
Individuals, families, and neighbourhoods implement measures to
prepare for and cope with the immediate impact of a disaster.
This phase includes the following activities: emergency and
continuity planning, volunteer management, training, exercises,
maintenance and continuous improvement, and public/stakeholder
education.
Response
Action is taken in direct response to an imminent or occurring
emergency/disaster in order to manage its consequences.
The plan for continuity of emergency operations is activated, if
necessary.
This phase involves measures to limit loss of life, minimize suffering,
and reduce personal injury and property damage associated with
disasters. Examples include emergency public/stakeholder
information, fire-fighting, search and rescue, emergency medical
assistance, evacuation, site support, and agency coordination.
Recovery
Steps are taken to repair a community affected by a disaster and
restore conditions to an acceptable level or, when feasible, improve
them. (Note: The term “community” refers to everyone who is or
could be affected by an emergency/disaster. This includes all levels
of government, agencies, not-for-profit organizations, businesses,
and individuals.)
This phase consists of several stages and works toward disaster risk
reduction to minimize future damage to the community and
environment.
It includes measures such as the return of evacuees, provision of
psychosocial support, resumption of impacted businesses and
services, provision of financial assistance, conduct of economic
impact studies, and reconstruction. These measures are taken after
an emergency/disaster in as timely a manner as possible.
The following diagram illustrates the four phases of emergency management.
More detailed information on each phase is provided in subsequent chapters.
3 FOUNDATIONS OF BCEMS
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 21
FOUR PHASES OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
NOTE
The table that begins on page 19 mentions the concept of
continuity of operations in the preparedness and response
phases of emergency management. The term continuity” is
used in various ways. In a private sector environment, the
term business continuity is well-suited to its purpose. In
this document, business continuity is often referred to as
“continuity of operations” to better reflect a
focus on
ensuring that emergency response operations remain viable
regardless of the cause or impact of a disruption to the work
environment. Regardless of how continuity is described, its
function is to protect and resume critical services when
standard operational responses are unavailable or
overwhelmed.
4 GETTING STARTED
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 23
4 – Getting Started
Implementing the BCEMS framework begins with the following:
Establishing an emergency management program
Identifying stakeholders
Conducting a hazard, risk, and vulnerability analysis (HRVA)
Establishing an emergency management
program
Purpose
Emergency management programs exist at the federal, provincial, and local
levels, as well as within private sector entities. These programs provide a centre
of responsibility for the actions that need to be taken before, during, and after an
emergency/disaster in order to promote safety and security, protect the
environment, and reduce property and financial losses.
Organization
Section 6(3) of the Emergency Program Act states that local authorities must
establish and maintain an emergency management organization to develop and
implement emergency plans and other preparedness, response, and recovery
measures for emergencies and disasters.
For local authorities and most private sector entities, the term “emergency
management program” refers to a specific department or group within the
organization that assumes overall responsibility for emergency planning and
facilitates the implementation of activities during each phase of the emergency
management process.
NOTE
To ensure that an emergency management program is effective
and able to achieve success, high-level support is required (e.g.,
from the chief executive officer, president, or chief administrative
officer of the organization; from the mayor and council; etc.).
4 GETTING STARTED
24 Government of British Columbia
The program is generally led by an emergency program coordinator (may also
be referred to as planner, manager, or director), who may or may not have
subordinate personnel. The emergency program coordinator is responsible for
the day-to-day management of the program. The duties associated with this
position should be clearly defined, and the appropriate level of authority and
decision-making ability provided.
In general, the local authority/private sector entity forms an emergency
management committee, which is usually chaired by the emergency program
coordinator. The committee’s main function is to provide guidance and strategic
direction for the program. It is usually composed of the following:
In the case of local authorities
A senior administrator and a representative from each local authority
department (e.g., fire, engineering, finance, and planning) and from local law
enforcement, the ambulance service, emergency social services, public
health, and the school district
For private sector entities
Senior executives and representatives of divisions, branches, or offices
within the organization
In both cases, representatives of external groups such as provincial and federal
agencies, utilities, volunteer organizations, etc. may be invited to attend
committee meetings.
Emergency management committees have various tools at their disposal to
facilitate the planning and documentation of their efforts. Two notable tools are:
Annual work plans
These are beneficial for ensuring that time, effort, and resources are focused
on priority activities.
Annual reports
These are used to document emergency training, exercise outcomes,
preparedness, and public/stakeholder awareness that the program has been
able to achieve. These reports can also assist in ensuring program
maintenance and continuous improvement.
4 GETTING STARTED
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 25
Elements
An emergency management program has the following key elements:
ELEMENT
WHAT IT COVERS
Governance
Requirements set out in legislation, regulations, and policy;
establishment of authority, lines of communication and
reporting for the program, organizational staffing, and funding
Planning
At minimum, development of an understanding of hazards/
risks and preparation of a basic emergency plan that will guide
the actions of the organization before, during, and after an
emergency/disaster (The plan should delineate the roles and
responsibilities of all involved parties.)
Resourcing
Identification of personnel, facilities, and equipment;
establishment of mutual aid agreements and partnerships
Training
Development and implementation of activities (e.g., courses,
information sessions, and educational materials) to train staff,
volunteers, stakeholders, and the public on their respective
roles in emergency management and in the implementation
of emergency plans
Exercises
Development and implementation of exercises (e.g., drills, and
table-top exercises) to test the emergency plan, procedures,
and equipment
Public/stakeholder
awareness and education
Planning and implementation of initiatives to educate the
public/stakeholders on emergency mitigation, preparedness,
response, and recovery; to increase resilience; and to
encourage participation in volunteer programs
Maintenance and
continuous improvement
Establishment of mechanisms to review the emergency
program and its emergency plans (after testing or
implementation), consider lessons learned, and revise the
program and plans accordingly
4 GETTING STARTED
26 Government of British Columbia
Identifying stakeholders
Effective emergency management requires collaboration and cooperation
among internal and external stakeholders through all phases of the process.
Thus, emergency management programs seek to develop close ties with those
they may call upon for support. These partnerships can be built through various
means, such as:
Consulting with internal organizations and resources, such as those involved
in risk management, business continuity, and information technology
Establishing multi-agency committees (e.g., a regional emergency planning
committee or advisory group)
Delivering joint training on emergency planning, response, and recovery
Conducting multi-agency exercises
Creating mutual aid agreements
The following table lists the various stakeholders who play a role in emergency
management.
WHO THEY ARE
WHAT THEY CAN DO
Government
All levels of government
Crown corporations
Responder agencies
Health authorities
School districts
First Nations
Provide leadership throughout the four phases of
emergency management
Provide information and guidance on emergency
mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and
reconstruction
Provide input to an HRVA
Promote resilience by sharing knowledge, expertise,
and resources across geographic and social jurisdictions
Develop and implement comprehensive emergency
plans
Write, resource, and exercise plans to ensure the
continuity of emergency and essential services
Build redundancy in critical systems, such as energy/
power, technology, and telecommunications
Share plans (e.g., for protecting community assets; for
improving economic and psychosocial supports to
community members)
Coordinate preventive action across jurisdictions
Address emergency management issues related to
critical infrastructure for which they are responsible
Ensure coordinated public messaging
Establish collaborative agreements
4 GETTING STARTED
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 27
WHO THEY ARE
WHAT THEY CAN DO
Government (continued)
Provide resources (e.g., through the Disaster Financial
Assistance [DFA] Program) and services (e.g., Disaster
Psychosocial Program [DPS])
Coordinate community recovery and revitalization
activities
Critical infrastructure
owners/operators
Identify, prioritize, protect, and restore their
infrastructure sector
1
Develop and test comprehensive emergency plans and
business continuity plans
Participate in mitigation, preparedness, response, and
recovery initiatives, including those of mutual aid and
stakeholder agencies
Send representatives to the Emergency Operations
Centre (EOC) to provide information about threatened
or actual service disruptions (More information about
EOCs is provided on page 56.)
Note: Critical infrastructure owners/operators are part of
the business and industry sector. Hence, the activities
listed below for this sector apply equally to the critical
infrastructure sector.
Business and industry
Conduct a risk assessment to identify the risks and
hazards they face
Conduct a business impact analysis to identify critical
services and determine recovery time objectives
Build redundancy (e.g., obtain back-up generators;
establish alternate locations for their operations)
Reduce vulnerabilities (e.g., ensure that data is backed
up; identify critical assets)
Create and implement an emergency plan and a
business continuity plan
Provide input to an HRVA
Educate and train employees responsible for workplace
safety
Establish strong relationships, support networks, and
support agreements and contracts
Draw upon mutual aid relationships and contracts as
well as the DFA Program (where applicable) to obtain
temporary support for business recovery
Where possible, provide equipment, services, expertise,
and other resources to support recovery efforts
1
There are ten nationally recognized critical infrastructure sectors: water, food,
transportation, health, energy and utilities, safety, telecommunications and information
technology, government, finance, and manufacturing.
4 GETTING STARTED
28 Government of British Columbia
WHO THEY ARE
WHAT THEY CAN DO
Not-for-profit organizations
Faith-based groups
Community groups
Humanitarian agencies
Other volunteer
organizations
In collaboration with the local authority:
Gain an understanding of community needs
Identify individuals, families, or groups who have
special needs that may be intensified by a disaster
Develop and implement plans for disaster relief
Use established networks to gain access to resources
Prepare themselves for an emergency/disaster
Provide assistance and services in support of response
and recovery efforts (These groups provide services in
many areas: shelter, food, clothing, first aid, medical aid,
personal hygiene, mental health, emotional/spiritual
support, logistics management, physical reconstruction,
transportation management, children’s services, case
management, family reunification, animal services, etc.)
Coordinate recovery/community resilience centres (For
more information, see page 97.)
Coordinate supplies from private partners
Manage donations
Individuals
Seek out information and education on the hazards and
risks they face
Take preventive action
Purchase adequate insurance
Ensure that, in an emergency/disaster, they are
prepared to take care of themselves for a minimum of
72 hours
Get involved in the local authority emergency
management program
Emergency management programs should also consider engaging with colleges
and universities in their area. The human and physical resources of these
institutions could prove to be major assets to an emergency program:
Most colleges and universities have large-scale food preparation and
residential facilities that may be underutilized during certain times of year
(e.g., the period from May to August, which is fire season).
They have the ability to host training and exercises year round.
Their strategic locations across the province make them ideally suited for
consideration as host sites for the Provincial Earthquake Response and
Recovery Centre (PERRC). For more information on the PERRC, see page 59.
They can be contracted to assist with/develop business recovery programs.
Many have the space and infrastructure to provide for expanded telephone,
broadband, and electrical services; the setting up of portables; and the
allocation of space for a heliport.
4 GETTING STARTED
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 29
Conducting an HRVA
Definition
A hazard, risk, and vulnerability analysis (HRVA) is an assessment of:
Hazards
These are sources of potential harm, or situations with a potential for
causing harm, in terms of human injury; damage to health, property, the
environment, and other things of value; or some combination of these.
Risk
This refers to the likelihood that a hazard will occur, as well as the severity
of possible impact to health, property, the environment, or other things of
value.
Vulnerability
This refers to the people, property, infrastructure, industry, resources, or
environments that are particularly exposed to adverse impact from a
hazardous event.
In its analysis, an HRVA considers several factors, including the unique
geographical area and functions of a community or organization, and any
societal, environmental, economic, political, or reputational risks. The results of
an HRVA give the emergency management program the information it needs to
develop an emergency plan, set priorities for action, and allocate time and
resources accordingly.
Process and participants
An HRVA is conducted before emergency plans are developed. It is a
preparatory activity that is best achieved through an inclusive, collaborative
process involving community members and groups, private industry, and
government. Hazard experts may also be involved.
The HRVA is reviewed and updated regularly to incorporate changes in hazards,
risks, and vulnerabilities.
4 GETTING STARTED
30 Government of British Columbia
Outcomes
A broad HRVA leads to the following outcomes:
Identification of relevant hazards and risks
Assessment of the impact and consequences of these hazards and risks
Analysis of the capabilities and capacity available for dealing with these
hazards and risks
Priority setting for mitigation, planning, response, and recovery
Development of plans to address the identified hazards and risks through
mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery strategies/activities
Understanding of a community/organization’s risk tolerance with respect to
various factors (e.g., culturally sensitive sites, environmental concerns,
economic issues, etc.)
Guidance for land-use and construction decisions
Enhanced public/stakeholder education and knowledge
Assessment of the safety status of existing mitigation structures (e.g., diking
infrastructure)
Detailed technical analyses of specific hazards and risks may also be conducted. In
some cases, if the results of the broad HRVA indicate a significant risk to or
vulnerability of the organization, more detailed technical assessments may be
needed to better inform hazard-specific mitigation and planning. For example, if a
local authority determines that earthquakes pose a significant risk to the
community, the local authority may consult with technical experts to undertake
more detailed analyses related to soil composition, seismic engineering
assessment, and damage estimation modeling for key facilities and infrastructure,
or social vulnerability assessments for special populations.
Components
The three components of an HRVA are:
Hazard and vulnerability identification
The process of recognizing that a hazard exists and defining its
characteristics, and identifying current vulnerabilities in the community or
organization
Risk analysis
The systematic use of information to estimate the chance and severity of
injury or loss to people, property, the environment, or other things of value
Risk evaluation
The process by which a risk is examined in terms of a cost/benefit analysis
and evaluated in terms of whether it is an “acceptable” risk based on the
needs and concerns of stakeholders
5 MITIGATION
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 31
5 – Mitigation
What is mitigation?
Definition
Mitigation is the phase of emergency management in which proactive steps are
taken to prevent a hazardous event from occurring by eliminating the hazard, or
to reduce the potential impact of such an event before it occurs. The goal of
these efforts as with all other emergency management activities is to protect
lives, property, and the environment, and to reduce economic and social
disruption. In the context of climate change, mitigation is referred to as
“adaptation,” an adjustment made to a changing environment and actions taken
to prepare for the occurrence.
Key considerations
In planning and implementing mitigation measures, the following are considered:
HRVA results
Through an HRVA, a community or organization is able to identify hazards
that may affect them, estimate the potential for and severity of injury or loss
due to these hazards, and set priorities for action. This information is critical
for developing and implementing a mitigation plan. (Ideally, this planning and
implementation occurs prior to an emergency/disaster, but may also take
place during response, recovery, and preparedness phases, as unanticipated
hazards and risks are identified.) For example, a flood risk may be addressed
through various prevention and mitigation projects, such as:
o Reinforcing structures
o Protecting essential equipment
o Building dikes
o Removing gravel from flood corridors
o Upgrading pumping stations
Critical infrastructure
Mitigation with respect to critical infrastructure is necessary and complex;
in a disaster, the resilience of government, communities, businesses, and
families depends in great part on the continued functioning of these assets.
When developing mitigation measures for critical infrastructure, consider:
o Interdependencies upon which the assets rely in order to function
o Vulnerabilities based on the hazards, risks, and status of the infrastructure
5 MITIGATION
32 Government of British Columbia
o Consequences of service interruption, including secondary impact
o Prioritization of asset protection based on the consequences of
disruption and the availability of resources
o Ways of protecting infrastructure
NOTE
The EMBC’s critical infrastructure assessment tool
is designed to facilitate this asset review process.
Check the EMBC website for access to the tool.
Mitigation planning and implementation
Mitigation works are most effective when implemented as part of a
comprehensive system that includes both structural and non-structural
projects. Long-term mitigation techniques (such as retreating, creating
spillways, or restoring marshlands) may provide opportunities to increase
recreational enjoyment or enhance sensitive eco-systems. Multi-year
mitigation plans, including provisions for maintenance and improvement,
are most effective.
Pre- and post-disaster perspectives
Mitigation measures are evaluated both before and after an emergency/
disaster. Certain risks are known and may be dealt with before such an
event occurs, while lessons learned from the experience of a disaster can
lead to specific mitigation initiatives.
Potential impact of mitigation works
When evaluating the goals and objectives of a mitigation program, the
potential impact of the proposed projects must also be evaluated. For
example, the installation of a dike may shift the flood risk across or
downstream. Large-scale structural mitigation works can be prohibitive in
terms of cost or detrimental to the environment. As such, they should be
considered only as a last resort, after all other mitigation options have been
considered.
Integration of mitigation into overall planning and operations
Effective mitigation planning and implementation are not done in isolation.
Rather, these efforts are part of the overall planning and day-to-day
operations of the organization, and should be considered when other
initiatives are implemented. For example, construction of stormwater
detention ponds and swales can be timed to coincide with road upgrades or
construction of new roads. Planning and execution of mitigation projects
should run alongside capital planning, financial planning, emergency
planning, continuity planning, and other organizational initiatives.
5 MITIGATION
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 33
Engagement on all levels
Mitigation is a shared responsibility, and effective measures need not be
large-scale to be effective. Supporting small-scale projects that individuals
can implement will help reduce dependence on local authorities for
protection against disasters. Projects can be undertaken at the property lot,
neighbourhood, community, or regional levels. Examples of works at the
property lot level are: the use of flood- and fire-resistant materials,
rainwater management, and the employment of mitigation construction
techniques and approaches.
5 MITIGATION
34 Government of British Columbia
Options for managing risk
Mitigation is about what can be done to manage risk. It starts with
understanding existing and potential hazards (information obtained through an
HRVA), and then deciding how to address them in a mitigation plan.
In general, there are four ways of responding to risk. These are described in the
table provided below. Selecting an option most appropriate for a particular
situation involves some measure of compromise. For example, one could accept
a smaller risk to avoid a more serious one (e.g., when a person decides to take
medication with certain side-effects, he or she is essentially accepting the risk
associated with those side-effects in order to avoid facing the more serious risk
of illness). In other situations, the compromise involves the issue of cost. A local
authority may decide to accept the cost of infrastructure improvements (e.g.,
seismic upgrades of water/sewer systems) in order to avoid the loss of life or
property damage caused by an earthquake.
2
OPTION
WHAT IT MEANS
Risk acceptance
Doing nothing and accepting the risk: Risk acceptance is an
explicit or implicit decision to accept the consequences of a
given risk.
Risk avoidance
Effectively removing the exposure to a risk: With risk avoidance,
a decision is made to completely remove the sources of a
particular risk or remove oneself from a particular risk.
Risk control/reduction/
mitigation
Reducing the likelihood of a threat or hazard being experienced;
reducing the likelihood that damage will result should the
hazard or threat be experienced; or minimizing harm once a
hazard or threat has been experienced
Risk transfer
Shifting some or all of the risk to another entity, asset, system,
network, or geographic area. Risk transfer may not reduce the
overall likelihood of a particular threat or hazard being
experienced but it should make the consequences easier to bear.
2
This information was adapted from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) course entitled Fundamentals of Risk Management, which is found at
http://emilms.fema.gov/IS454/RMPrint.htm.
5 MITIGATION
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 35
Mitigation tools and activities
Mitigation involves tasks such as:
Identifying hazards
Assessing the potential impact of various types of emergencies/disasters
Documenting the status of critical assets
Managing various forms of risk
Building resource lists and capturing other forms of vital information
A variety of tools and activities can help an emergency program accomplish
these tasks. Some examples are provided below.
Examples
TOOL/ACTIVITY
PURPOSES
Hazard mapping and
modeling
Identifying high-risk areas (e.g., coastal inundation zones and
flood plains)
Determining the potential for hazards such as soil erosion
Locating resources
Documenting facility locations
Creating a response plan, such as an evacuation plan
Deciding how best to mitigate the effects of a potential
disaster
Land-use planning and
construction techniques
Assessing lands so that informed decisions can be made on
their use and development
Creating bylaws and land-use convenants
Preventing or avoiding potential disasters through policies or
practices that address development issues in hazardous areas
Establishing building requirements, landscaping regulations,
and fire perimeters
Environmental
practices
Identifying hazards and managing risks such as contamination
of the water supply and other forms of harm to the
ecosystem, and the effects of phenomena such as storm
surges and rising sea levels on the environment and on
human welfare
Safeguarding the environment (e.g., through environmental
protection legislation), thus reducing vulnerability to
hazardous events
Implementing policies to address climate change impact and
promoting adaptation
5 MITIGATION
36 Government of British Columbia
TOOL/ACTIVITY
PURPOSES
Infrastructure
improvements
Reducing risk through initiatives such as the seismic retrofitting
of bridges and schools, construction and maintenance of dikes,
and upgrading of telecommunications and fibre-optic lines
Including mitigation works in capital and infrastructure
projects
Insurance
Reducing the impact of loss, damage, or service/operational
interruptions by covering the financial costs associated with
risks that individuals, businesses, organizations, and
governments might not otherwise be able to bear
Tax incentive programs
Promoting mitigation techniques through tax incentives (e.g.,
stormwater management through bioswales or rain guards)
Measures undertaken
by individuals
Implementing minor mitigation measures, such as opting for
permeable paving, securing furniture against falls during an
earthquake, and limiting fuel loads (combustibles) to help
prevent the spread of fires
NOTE
Through the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP), the
Government of Canada provides provinces and territories with funding
to help share in the cost of flood mitigation measures (primarily non-
structural) for improving resilience
against floods, which currently
account
for the majority of payments through the Disaster Financial
Assistance Arrangements. The NDMP is a merit-based process in which
projects are selected based on objective and measurable criteria, such
as risk assessments, project readiness, and return on investment for
proposed projects.
Suggestions for successful implementation
3
Taking advantage of the recovery phase
The recovery phase may be an opportune time to move forward on
mitigation efforts. While the community or organization is recovering from
an emergency/disaster, public/stakeholder awareness and support as well
as potential funding for such efforts may be at their highest point.
3
This information was adapted from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) publication entitled Local Mitigation Planning Handbook, which is found at
https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/31598.
5 MITIGATION
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 37
Starting small and moving quickly
Initial implementation could focus on relatively smaller, lower-cost projects
that can be completed within a shorter time span. Early tangible results from
such projects can help enhance public/stakeholder awareness and support,
boost morale, and serve as the impetus for further action.
Getting the message across
An important aspect of implementation is communicating to the public,
stakeholders, and funders the significance and importance of the mitigation
strategy. Anticipate possible concerns that people might have about the
mitigation projects covered by the strategy, and address them in a clear and
convincing manner.
Identifying project champions
Having a community or organization leader lend visible support to a
mitigation project would go a long way towards promoting the project and
enlisting support from others.
Learning from others
Research into mitigation programs that have succeeded in other
communities or organizations is time well spent.
Maintenance and continuous improvement
The following considerations should be addressed during the mitigation phase:
Degree of integration
Has the mitigation strategy been effectively integrated into the day-to-day
operations of the community or organization?
Progress in implementation
o What progress has been made in implementing the identified mitigation
actions?
o Did the completed actions yield the desired results? If not, what were the
barriers to achieving the stated goals? Does the action plan need to be
revised to improve the likelihood of success?
o If certain actions have not been completed, what were the reasons for
non-completion? Will efforts be directed towards completing them, or
have they become irrelevant due to changes in conditions?
o What lessons have been learned from these implementation experiences
that can be used to improve the plan?
Shifts in priority
A community or organization may change its mitigation priorities for
various reasons, such as:
o New hazards
o Increase or decrease in funding or other resources
o Presence of new stakeholders
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38 Government of British Columbia
o Recent experience of a disaster
o Changes in leadership
o New bylaws, regulations, or policies
6 PREPAREDNESS
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 39
6 – Preparedness
What is preparedness?
Definition
Preparedness is the phase of emergency management during which action is
taken to ensure that individuals, businesses, and the jurisdiction/organization
are ready to undertake emergency response and recovery. It includes planning,
resource planning, volunteer management, training, exercises, public/
stakeholder education, and maintenance and continuous improvement.
Key considerations
When preparedness measures are developed and executed, the following are
taken into account:
HRVA results
As mentioned previously, the results of an HRVA give an emergency
management program the information it needs to set priorities for action
and allocate time and resources accordingly. These results are a critical
input to the development of emergency plans.
Context
Context refers to the circumstances in which an emergency/disaster may
occur. It includes factors such as geographical location, population, and
available funding, resources, and capabilities. These circumstances have an
effect on the impact of the emergency/disaster and thus help determine the
scope of the emergency plan, the range and types of activities the plan
covers, and what can be expected of the target populations in terms of
engagement and participation.
Outcomes of the mitigation phase
Any successful mitigation initiatives should be considered in the
preparedness phase. If a hazard has been mitigated, preparedness efforts
would then focus on residual risk.
Continuity of operations
Emergency operations can be hampered or delayed if responding
organizations are also affected by the emergency/disaster. Continuity plans
should be prepared to ensure that emergency operations continue despite
the loss of power, facilities, IT infrastructure, and communication systems.
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40 Government of British Columbia
Preparedness activities
The preparedness phase involves the following activities:
Planning
Resource planning
Volunteer management
Training
Exercises
Public/stakeholder education
Maintenance and continuous improvement
Planning
Goal
The primary goal of planning is to ensure the development of realistic and
scalable emergency plans that describe clearly how people, property, and the
environment will be protected in an emergency/disaster. Emergency plans are a
road map of actions that will be taken when an emergency/disaster occurs.
NOTE
An effective all-hazards emergency plan is not a written document
that is produced once and then forgotten. Neither is emergency
planning a one-time process; rather, it is a continuous cycle of
planning, training, exercising, evaluation, and corrective action.
Steps
The task of preparing an all-hazards emergency plan is facilitated when a step-
by-step process is used. Here is a suggested model:
1
Determine the planning context so that planning
parameters are identified and considered
2
Identify stakeholders and determine their roles so that
they can be included in the process as appropriate
3
Review the HRVA results
4
Determine the purpose and scope of the plan
6 PREPAREDNESS
BC Emergency Management System [2016] 41
5
Consult stakeholders and collect data
6
Create the plan
7
Obtain feedback and approval
8
Conduct orientation and training
9
Exercise the plan
10
Evaluate, maintain, and continually improve the plan
Elements of an emergency plan
At minimum, a base emergency plan is produced, which consists of the following
key elements:
ELEMENT
WHAT IT MAY CONTAIN
Authority
Legislation, regulation, or policy that authorizes/
requires the plan
Letter of authority, where appropriate
List of applicable legislation
Purpose
Statement of the intended outcome of the plan
List of measurable objectives
Scope
Geographical or jurisdictional boundaries
Types of emergencies/disasters that will be dealt
with
Planning parameters and assumptions
Roles and responsibilities
Duties of key internal staff/functions, relevant
departments, and external communities, agencies,
or organizations
Lines of authority
Procedures, guidelines, and
processes
Organizational chart
Concept of operations (e.g., based on ICS)
Levels of activation
Procedures for activation, call-out, notification,
communication, etc.
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42 Government of British Columbia
ELEMENT
WHAT IT MAY CONTAIN
Logistical support, facilities, and
resource requirements
List of facilities and equipment that will support
emergency response and coordination, such as an
Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) (More
information about EOCs is provided on page
56.)
Reference to required technical services, facility
maintenance, and resources
Resource management procedures
Communication and information
management
Tools and processes for managing information flow
and various types of communication
Training and exercise programs
Training needs and timelines
Exercise needs and timelines
The base emergency plan includes an inventory of internal resources and a list
of external resource suppliers (including contact information for each).
Determining in advance the type and quantity of required resources is key to
effective planning and implementation. To obtain these resources, emergency
management programs may need to enter into mutual aid agreements with
other jurisdictions or parties.
Supporting plans may also be developed, such as a response plan, business
continuity plan, recovery plan, evacuation plans, emergency information plan,
hazard-specific plans, etc.
An effective emergency plan is one that:
Meets the requirements set forth in legislation and regulations
Is based on the risk profile of the community or organization as described in
the HRVA
Clearly delineates the roles of staff and partner agencies
Incorporates a concept of operations that allows for scalability based on the
needs arising from the emergency/disaster
Identifies the resources required for implementation
Is written in plain language
Keeps explanations to a minimum and includes supplementary documents
that focus on procedures and guidelines
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 43
Resource planning
Goal
The term “resources” refers to equipment, supplies, personnel, volunteers, and
facilities available for assignment or staging in support of emergency
management activities. During the preparedness phase, resource planning
measures are implemented to help ensure that resources are available to be
mobilized when called to an emergency/disaster, and that they are compatible
and interoperable with one another.
Measures
The following resource planning measures are undertaken during this phase:
Identification of resource needs based on the threats to and vulnerabilities
of the jurisdiction/organization, and development of alternative strategies
to obtain the needed resources
If necessary, the creation of new policies to encourage the positioning of
resources near expected incident sites in response to anticipated resource
needs
Anticipation of circumstances that may trigger a specific required action,
such as the restocking of supplies when inventories reach a predetermined
minimum
Ongoing assessment of the status of resources in order to draw up an
accurate inventory of resources available at any given time. Resources are
organized by category, kind, and type, including size, capacity, capability,
skill, and other characteristics. This makes the resource ordering and
dispatch process more efficient and ensures that the required resources are
received.
Establishment of standing agreements and contracts among all parties
providing or requesting resources
Establishment of standing agreements and contracts with technical specialists
Volunteer management
Goal
As with all other phases of emergency management, preparedness is a shared
responsibility, and therefore efforts should be made to engage individuals and
groups on all levels. Volunteers (i.e., people who offer their services without
expecting financial compensation) are a critical component of the emergency
management process.
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44 Government of British Columbia
The goal of volunteer management during the preparedness phase is two-fold:
First, organizations must determine whether there is a role for volunteers in
supporting emergency management activities.
Second, if there is such a role for volunteers, volunteer management plans
must be developed to ensure the effective management of registered
volunteers as well as emergent volunteers. (The latter are groups of people
who come together as a result of the emergency/disaster to offer assistance
in a particular area or for a particular task, and who are not yet formally
affiliated with an incorporated organization.)
Potential sources of volunteers
British Columbia has established Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer (PSLV)
programs that function at both the provincial and local levels to provide support
during emergencies/disasters. These include the following groups:
Emergency Radio Communications (ERC)
Emergency Social Services (ESS)
PEP Air
Road Rescue
Search and Rescue (SAR)
Various not-for-profit organizations also offer assistance during emergencies/
disasters.
NOTE
More information and resources are available through the Justice
Institute of BC's Emergency Management Division at the following link:
http://www.jibc.ca/programs-courses/schools-departments/school-
public-safety/emergency-management-division/government-and-
corporate/emergency-social-services.
Training
Goal
Training helps ensure that individuals and groups who play a role in
implementing the emergency plan are ready to carry out their responsibilities.
For this reason, the training curriculum ties in with planning documents,
supports the emergency plan goals, and validates the plan.
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 45
Considerations
Formalized training
A formal training program, including target timelines, underscores the
organization’s commitment to the emergency plan and its support for
personnel as they prepare for their roles.
Development of a training matrix
The work involved in training groups of personnel for a range of duties can
be facilitated through the development of a training matrix. The matrix lists
each identified role and the training required for it. Once the matrix is in
place, individual courses can be planned and developed. A training matrix
provides personnel with a road map to preparing for their emergency
management responsibilities.
Review of training programs
To ensure that training programs continue to cover the necessary
knowledge, skills, and abilities, feedback is sought from participants on
whether their training needs are being met.
Types of training
Individual or group orientations/workshops for personnel
Executive-level briefings or presentations
Function- or activity-specific training for staff and volunteers
Cross-training for staff and volunteers to help enhance capacity
Multi-agency training for key stakeholders for information-sharing purposes
and to enhance coordination and collaboration
Overview of the emergency plan for public officials to clarify their
responsibilities during a major emergency/disaster
Exercises
Goal
Emergency plans are exercised to ensure that they are workable and to identify
before an emergency/disaster occurs any implementation issues that must
be resolved. They also provide the opportunity to further engage and train
personnel, volunteers, and stakeholders. An exercise program will enhance
operational readiness by:
Validating the objectives of the emergency plan
Testing systems, procedures, and equipment
Identifying resource gaps and weaknesses in execution
Clarifying roles and responsibilities
Improving inter-agency coordination and communication
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46 Government of British Columbia
Assessing the participants’ knowledge and skills and their readiness to
perform their duties in response to emergencies/disasters
Types of exercises
Exercise programs usually include exercises of varying size and complexity
conducted according to a schedule. In general, exercises fall into one of two
categories:
Discussion-based
Facilitated discussions allow participants to familiarize themselves with
plans and procedures, and explore their application in specific emergency
scenarios. Examples include orientations/seminars, workshops, and
tabletop exercises.
Operations-based
These exercises validate training, plans, and procedures through the actual
deployment of personnel, equipment, and other resources. Examples include
drills, functional exercises, and full-scale exercises.
The following chart provides more detailed information on the purpose and
focus of each type of exercise.
TYPE
PURPOSE
FOCUS
DISCUSSION-BASED
Orientation/seminar
To provide participants with information
on the subject of the exercise
Achieve a common level of
understanding
Workshop
To draw information from participants
about specific exercise objective(s)
Share and record ideas
Tabletop
To facilitate a discussion that addresses a
specific emergency scenario
Apply plans, procedures, and training in
discussing the response to an
emergency/disaster
Immersive simulation
To use technology to model how an
emergency scenario would unfold in
response to participant actions
Validate plans, procedures, and training
in responding to a specific emergency/
disaster
OPERATIONS-BASED
Drill
To evaluate and validate a single
operation or function
Demonstrate and validate activities
involved in a specific task or function
Functional
To evaluate and validate multiple
functions at a single site
Apply plans, procedures, and training in
responding to a specific mock
emergency/disaster
Full-scale
To evaluate and validate multiple
functions at multiple sites
Apply plans, procedures, and training in
responding to a large-scale mock
emergency/disaster
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 47
Public/stakeholder education
Goal
Public/stakeholder awareness and education efforts aim to empower the
members of a community or organization to understand risks and hazards,
prepare themselves for an emergency/disaster, participate meaningfully in
emergency management initiatives, and develop the skills they need to mitigate
their personal risk.
Methods
Empowerment is achieved by enhancing public/stakeholder awareness and
understanding of the hazards and risks they face and the importance of being
personally prepared for emergencies/disasters, and by providing them with the
knowledge required for informed decisions and safe behaviour.
Here are some examples of public/stakeholder awareness and education
programs/services:
Information campaigns geared to the public, which are conducted through:
o Television and other broadcast media
o Internet and social media
o Publications, such as brochures and posters
o Information booths
o Web-based information campaigns
Education programs targeted to specific audiences, such as neighbourhoods,
schoolchildren, First Nations, seniors, persons with disabilities, business
owners and employees, and animal owners
Specialized awareness and education campaigns, such as:
o Fire Smart
o Call Before You Dig
o Emergency Preparedness Week (first week of May)
o ShakeOut BC Earthquake Drill (third Thursday of October)
o Tsunami Awareness Week (last week of March)
o PreparedBC: In It Together
Venues for public/stakeholder discussion, such as surveys, interviews,
workshops, and public forums
Exercises that engage the community or organization at large (e.g., drills)
Emergency programs could also consider linking with other programs, such as
water conservation, environmental awareness and education, and climate
adaptation programs.
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48 Government of British Columbia
Maintenance and continuous improvement
Goal
Emergency plans and the emergency management program itself are
reviewed, evaluated, and revised as necessary to increase readiness for future
incidents. The goal of evaluation and revision is to keep the program and plans
updated, workable, and relevant to changing needs and conditions.
Methods
Lessons learned from training and exercises are valuable input to maintenance
and continuous improvement, but feedback may also be sought from
stakeholders through surveys or interviews. The areas of concern covered by
these review mechanisms include:
Are there any gaps in any of the program areas (e.g., training, public/
stakeholder education, resourcing)?
Does the emergency plan work? Does it meet the needs of the jurisdiction or
organization?
Are the roles and responsibilities of those tasked with implementing parts of
the plan clearly defined?
Are there any planning weaknesses or gaps?
Are there any resource gaps?
Are there any gaps in execution?
Does the plan allow for interoperability and coordination of response and
communication efforts?
In addition to these mechanisms for review and evaluation, emergency
management programs can keep their plans updated by:
Reviewing and confirming contact information every six months with all
agencies, departments, working groups, and any other internal or external
stakeholders named in the plan
Contacting responsible groups annually (or every six months when checking
contact information) to determine if there have been any changes or updates
to supporting plans or documents
Providing a mechanism for plan participants to submit requests for
amendments to the plan
Using a tracking form to keep a record of changes to the plan
Ensuring that copies of the amendments are distributed to all plan holders
and include clear instructions on which pages of the plan should be replaced
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 49
Using the After Action process
At the conclusion of any project, it is prudent to capture lessons learned by
reflecting on how well the initiative was planned and implemented. An After
Action Review (AAR) is a professional discussion of an event that focuses on
performance standards and enables those involved in the event to review what
happened and why, and discuss how to maintain identified strengths and
address identified weaknesses.
4
An AAR captures learning and applies it as
quickly as possible back into action. The results of the review process are
documented in an After Action Report that is shared with all involved.
AARs can be conducted formally or informally and can involve various activities
that are referred to as “debriefings,” “lessons learned,” or a “learning review.”
Regardless of the terminology used, all approaches follow a similar format and
address the following questions:
What worked well?
What could have gone better?
What can be done differently next time?
An effective After Action Review:
Focuses on a small number of key issues
Is conducted in a non-judgemental, safe environment
Uses an inclusive process
Builds a shared understanding
Is carried out as close to an action as possible
Allows learning to feed directly back into action
Uses a structured and facilitated process
4
This information was adapted from: Keyes, Jessica, Enterprise 2.0: Social Networking
Tools to Transform Your Organization, CRC Press, 2012.
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 51
7 – Response
What is response?
Definition
The term “response” refers to actions taken in direct response to an imminent or
occurring emergency/disaster in order to manage its consequences. This phase of
emergency management involves measures to limit loss of life, minimize suffering,
and reduce personal injury and property damage. It also includes the initiation of
plans and actions to support recovery.
BCEMS allows for the integration of response structures and practices into a
unified incident management system that is applicable to all levels of
government, business and industry, and not-for-profit organizations.
Key concepts
Common response management model
BCEMS provides emergency management stakeholders with a common
response management model based on ICS. This flexible, standardized
system, a common approach, and shared understanding of functions and
procedures enable stakeholders to work together more effectively. In
addition, the model is applicable to any incident, regardless of the scope,
scale, or complexity.
Multi-agency coordination and integration
As mentioned previously, emergency management entails the engagement
and participation of a wide range of stakeholders. (See the list that begins on
page 26.) Coordination among them allows for effective response during an
emergency/disaster. Coordination protocols, close working relationships,
and open lines of communication among response organizations facilitate
integrated response. Those who lead response efforts seek to align the
capabilities of various stakeholders to reduce the risk of any group being
overwhelmed by the crisis. Under a coordinated system, most groups and
agencies are able to perform one or more of the following roles:
o Coordinating and integrating action: Setting priorities for their
respective operations and resources, and developing strategies for
resolving challenges that arise in a multi-agency response situation
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52 Government of British Columbia
o Sharing information: Providing observations on the disaster and its
effects on the community/organization, and facilitating communication
o Exchanging resources: Offering resources for the use of others under
formal or informal arrangements
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 53
Response goals
There are eight BCEMS response goals, which guide decision makers in
prioritizing response activities. Although the goals are listed in order of priority,
personnel take all available information into account when determining
incident-specific priorities.
RESPONSE GOALS
1
ENSURE THE HEALTH AND
SAFETY OF RESPONDERS
The well-being of responders must be effectively
addressed or they may be unable to respond to the
needs of those at risk.
2
SAVE LIVES
The importance of human life is paramount over all
other considerations. When lives are at risk, all
reasonable efforts must be made to eliminate the
risk.
3
REDUCE SUFFERING
Physical and psychological injury can cause
significant short- and long-term impact on
individuals, families, and communities. Response
measures should take into consideration all
reasonable measures to reduce or eliminate human
suffering.
4
PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH
Public health measures essential to the well-being of
communities should be maintained or implemented.
Enhancing surveillance and detection, eliminating
health hazards, minimizing exposure, and
implementing programs such as widespread
immunization may need to be considered.
5
PROTECT INFRASTRUCTURE
When necessary to sustain response efforts,
maintain basic human needs, and support effective
recovery, infrastructure that is critical to the
livelihood of the community should be protected
ahead of other property.
6
PROTECT PROPERTY
Property can be essential to the livelihood of
communities. When determining priorities, response
personnel should evaluate the importance of
protecting private and community property.
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54 Government of British Columbia
7
PROTECT THE
ENVIRONMENT
The environment is essential to communities. When
determining priorities, response personnel should
evaluate the importance of protecting the
environment and implement protective strategies
that are in the best interest of the broader
community.
8
REDUCE ECONOMIC AND
SOCIAL LOSSES
The loss of economic generators can have short-
and long-term impact on communities, including
social losses related to the loss of community
support networks and reduced employment,
investment, and development. Response measures
may be necessary to reduce these losses, and
psychosocial interventions may be required for
those impacted by the disaster.
These goals can be interpreted in different ways based on the operational
requirements of each incident. For example, it may be determined that the best
way to reduce suffering is to protect housing (essential infrastructure) as no
other shelter is available. Such a course of action may require the activation of
an EOC or other site support activities, and the deployment of the appropriate
resources.
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 55
Response levels and structure
Levels
Under BCEMS, there are four response levels, which are activated as necessary:
RESPONSE LEVEL
PRIMARY ROLE
SPECIFIC TASKS
Site
Uses resources to solve problems arising from
the emergency/disaster
Responders at the site may come from
various levels of government and from other
stakeholders.
Direction comes either from a single
command or a unified command.
5
Command is provided from a single on-site
incident command post.
Manages the tactical response to the
emergency/disaster
Takes responsibility for the safety and
health of all those who are operating at
the site
Evaluates risk on an ongoing basis
Determines the resources required to
deal with the emergency/disaster
Site support
Supports and coordinates the overall emergency
response activities within its geographical or
functional jurisdiction. This level of support can
be provided by one of the following:
Department Operations Centre (DOC):
Agencies that require unique functional
support for their emergency activities may
establish a DOC. A DOC is primarily
concerned with supporting the emergency
activities of the agency and ensuring that
regular business activities continue. It can be
established at the provincial, regional, or
local level. For example, a local authority fire
department may establish a DOC to respond
to a specific emergency/disaster. Business
and industry may also activate functional or
geographic operations centres (e.g., Area
Operation or Area Command Centre).
Maintains communication with the site
level
Provides policy guidance
Coordinates the collection of situational
awareness information and disseminates
this information internally as well as with
external stakeholders
Provides operational support (e.g., for
evacuations)
Coordinates the local multi-agency
support to the site level
Acquires and deploys additional
resources obtained locally, from other
EOCs, or from the provincial regional
coordination level
Prioritizes and coordinates critical
resources
Assists with the media
5
“Single commandrefers to one person overseeing the response and serving as the
final decision-making authority. “Unified commandrefers to two or more individuals
sharing authority over an emergency/disaster in which multiple agencies or
jurisdictions are involved.
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56 Government of British Columbia
RESPONSE LEVEL
PRIMARY ROLE
SPECIFIC TASKS
Site support
(continued)
Emergency Operations Centre (EOC): An EOC
is set up off-site, ideally in a pre-designated
facility, and is normally activated at the
request of the incident commander or senior
official. EOCs may be established by any
level of government or the private sector to
support the entire site or an individual
agency.
Regional Emergency Operations Centre
(REOC): Local authorities or agencies may
combine resources in an REOC. An REOC has
the same function as an EOC, but allows for
collaborative decision making, coordinated
resource requests, and prioritization of
scarce resources between local authorities
during regional emergencies/disasters. An
REOC can also coordinate public messaging.
As listed above
Provincial
regional
coordination
Provides and coordinates provincial support for
local authorities and First Nations within
designated regional boundaries. Support and
coordination at this level are provided by a
Provincial Regional Emergency Operations
Centre. (PREOC).
Acts as a conduit of information back to
the provincial government
Assists in implementing emergency plans
across local authorities and other levels
of government, Crown corporations, and
stakeholders
Coordinates the collection of situational
awareness information (e.g., priority
issues of concern, damage assessment)
and disseminates this information to the
provincial central coordination level,
provincial ministries, local authorities,
and stakeholders
When an emergency/disaster affects
multiple jurisdictions, obtains critical
resources and prioritizes their
coordinated deployment in accordance
with BCEMS response goals
Where no local authority exists, directly
manages the response
Coordinates regional dissemination of
provincial messaging on the status of the
emergency/disaster
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 57
RESPONSE LEVEL
PRIMARY ROLE
SPECIFIC TASKS
Provincial central
coordination
Prioritizes provincial government objectives and
leads the overall provincial response. It also
serves as the coordination and communication
link with the other response levels and the
federal disaster support system. Central
coordination and provincial leadership are
provided by the Provincial Emergency
Coordination Centre (PECC).
Provides overall leadership and
coordination in the implementation of
the provincial government’s priorities
and objectives in a major emergency/
disaster:
o Gathers situational awareness data to
establish the scope and scale (current
and potential) of major emergencies/
disasters, and provides it to the
government and other stakeholders
o Facilitates advance planning,
addressing the need for resources and
support based on situational
awareness information
Supports the provincial government’s
response activities, providing policy
direction for regional emergency
operations
Coordinates and supports any activated
PREOC
Coordinates cross-government support to
provincial ministries and emergency
management stakeholders
Ensures adequate province-wide
mobilization and allocation of critical
assets
Coordinates the government’s business
continuity requirements for critical
government functions and provides
continuity support to senior provincial
officials as requested
Facilitates, as required, the acquisition of
provincial, national, and international
support
Coordinates overall provincial messaging
on the status of the emergency/disaster
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58 Government of British Columbia
Provincial emergency management structure
The following diagram shows how the four BCEMS response levels align with
the provincial government’s emergency management organizational structure.
BC GOVERNMENT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 59
Additional coordinating elements for catastrophic
events
In certain circumstances, enhanced coordination, integration, and flexibility may
be required among all levels of government, critical infrastructure owners/
operators, and other stakeholders to help ensure:
Joint decision making
Enhanced information sharing and decision making
Prioritization and synchronization of resources
Unity of effort
Development of innovative solutions to challenges that arise during the
emergency/disaster
The provincial government has designed two additional coordinating elements
the Provincial Coordination Team (PCT) and the Provincial Earthquake
Response and Recovery Centre (PERRC) to achieve these objectives.
Provincial Coordination Team
The PCT is a cross-government, multifunctional provincial team of experienced
emergency managers and technical specialists who will be available on short
notice to provide enhanced coordination support. The PCT is activated by the
Assistant Deputy Minister, EMBC, and may be deployed to assist in a major
emergency/disaster. It is designed to accomplish the following tasks:
Developing on-the-ground situational understanding and analysis to
supplement the situational awareness work done by site and site support
personnel
Reinforcing staff capacity and expertise in PREOCs and the PECC
Enhancing coordination and integration with local authorities and other
stakeholders (e.g., the PCT may be deployed to a local authority or
stakeholder EOC and act as a conduit of information to and from the PREOC)
Where required, determining an appropriate location for and establishing
the PERRC
Provincial Earthquake Response and Recovery Centre
When the scope and complexity of an earthquake and the scale of response
require extensive cross-agency coordination and integration for an extended
period of time, the province may establish a PERRC. (Until the PERRC is
established and transition of response coordination is possible, the PECC
coordinates the provincial response.)
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60 Government of British Columbia
The PERRC is an integrated centre that could include a PREOC, PECC, and other
emergency operations centres all under one roof. Its key features are as follows:
The PERRC is not a pre-existing facility, but one whose activation is decided
upon by EMBC during the immediate response phase.
It is located in a facility that can accommodate several hundred people.
It is set up in a location that is close to the impact area, allows for the
efficient gathering and analysis of situation information, and provides for
the integration of the activities of all levels of government and stakeholders.
It is activated during what is expected to be a sustained and potentially
lengthy response period.
A PERRC is responsible for:
Providing overall provincial coordination in place of the PECC and possibly a
PREOC
Providing direct, integrated, coordinated support to local authorities and
regional districts
Coordinating large-scale media relations, public information, and strategic
communications at the provincial and national levels to ensure consistent,
coordinated public messaging
Setting up the conditions for recovery with the integration of a Recovery
Task Force that is located within the centre, thus making it possible for
recovery work to get underway even as the response activities are being
coordinated
When preparing their emergency management plans, local authorities, First
Nations, and stakeholder agencies should consider how they would address the
requirements for staff support and information sharing that would arise if a
PERRC is activated.
Mass care
In BC the provision of Emergency Social Services (ESS) immediately after an
emergency consists primarily of local ESS volunteers assisting those affected. In
a catastrophic emergency such as an earthquake, where significant numbers of
people have been affected and require support, ESS service delivery may not be
able to manage the scope and volume of needs.
Building upon ESS principles, a new approach is in place to provide a heightened
level of care and basic needs to a mass population affected by a catastrophic
disaster. This approach includes a variety of mass shelter options, mass feeding,
and bulk distribution of essential supplies. In the field of emergency
management both nationally and internationally, this level of support is
commonly referred to asmass care.” As part of the mass care planning process,
all levels of government, local ESS volunteers, volunteer organizations, non-
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 61
governmental organizations, and others are collaborating to develop integrated
plans and logistics for a coordinated response.
Response roles of other stakeholders
Not-for-profit organizations and the private sector also play key roles in
emergency response.
Not-for-profit organizations
BC hosts a variety of unique not-for-profit organizations that offer a variety of
services during emergencies/disasters. For example, the Canadian Red Cross,
The Salvation Army, and the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART)
are able to involve various governance levels during a response and recovery
operation, which can include local, regional, provincial, national, and
international resources.
The provincial partnership with not-for-profit organizations is coordinated
through the Integrated Disaster Council of British Columbia (IDCBC). During
emergencies/disasters, these organizations (including international groups)
interface with the provincial emergency management system primarily through
the operations branch of the PREOC.
Private sector
Private sector owners are encouraged to maintain business continuity plans and
emergency management/response plans. Private companies that manage
resources (such as oil and gas) which face disaster-related risks and those with
essential applications (such as energy/power) are required by legislation to
maintain contingency plans. Private sector owners of critical resources that may
be impacted by an emergency/disaster often designate agency representatives
to the EOC or PREOC. These representatives act as liaisons, sharing information
on threatened or disrupted services (e.g., electrical power, transportation,
telephone, and gas) and infrastructure. This partnership facilitates the
coordination and prioritization of critical service restoration.
In addition, during emergencies/disasters, business organizations often
contribute to response and recovery through donations and resource support.
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62 Government of British Columbia
Response management model
The BCEMS response management model for site and site support is based on
ICS. Hence, response operations are guided by the following basic ICS concepts:
Primary management functions
Personnel accountability
Modular organization
Establishment and transfer of command
Single command or unified command
Unity and chain of command
Management by objectives
Action planning
Manageable span of control
Common terminology
Communication and information management
Comprehensive resource management
Primary management functions
Whether at the site level or the site support level, the response structure is built
around five primary management functions. These are:
Command (site level)/management (site support level)
Operations
Planning
Logistics
Finance
Each function is assigned a standard colour for quick identification. These
colours and the relationships between these functions are illustrated below.
PRIMARY MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 63
Command/management
The command function consists of an incident commander and the command
staff operating at the site level, while the management function consists of a
director and the management staff operating at the site support level. At the site
level, the leadership element is referred to as “command.” For site support, it is
referred to as “management,” which conveys a leadership role that is focused on
support, coordination, and strategic direction. The incident commander at the
site and the director at the site support level are responsible for the following:
INCIDENT COMMANDER
DIRECTOR
Assuming overall responsibility for site
level management of the incident
Determining incident objectives and
strategies
Establishing an appropriate response
structure/organization
Coordinating response activities with
assisting agencies/organizations
Overseeing command staff functions
(information, safety, and liaison)
Exercising overall management
responsibility for activation,
coordination, and demobilization of
site support activities
Ensuring that sufficient support, policy
advice, and resources are made
available
Ensuring that appropriate staffing
levels are established and maintained
Directing appropriate emergency
public/stakeholder information, risk
management, and liaison actions
Both the incident commander and the director oversee the following command/
management staff functions: information, safety/risk management, and liaison.
As shown below, these staff functions are assigned the colour red for easy
identification. These functions can be staffed with multiple officers depending
on the scope of the emergency/disaster.
COMMAND/MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS
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64 Government of British Columbia
The following pages contain sample organizational charts for both the site (ICS)
and site support (EOC) levels.
In these structures, only those ICS/EOC functions and positions that are
required to meet current response objectives need to be activated. Non-
activated functions and positions are the responsibility of the next higher level
in the ICS/EOC organization, and ICS/EOC staff may be required to take on more
than one position or role. Each function must have a person in charge.
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SAMPLE SITE STRUCTURE
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66 Government of British Columbia
SAMPLE SITE SUPPORT STRUCTURE
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 67
Each function has its duties and responsibilities:
STAFF
FUNCTION
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
(SITE LEVEL)
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
(SITE SUPPORT LEVEL)
Information
Ensure that information
provided is complete, accurate,
and consistent
Ensure that the organization
has the capacity to receive and
address public/stakeholder
inquiries
Provide information to the
public/stakeholders; manage
public/stakeholder relations
Provide information to the
media and manage media
inquiries and requests
Ensure that internal
information is complete,
accurate, and consistent
Serve as the coordination point
for all public/stakeholder
information, media relations,
and internal information
sources
Ensure that information
provided to the public within
the affected area is complete,
accurate, and consistent
Safety/Risk
management
Safety
Develop and recommend
measures for ensuring
personnel safety
Assess and/or anticipate
hazardous and unsafe
situations
Exercise emergency authority
to stop and prevent unsafe acts
Develop worker care programs
Risk management
Ensure the implementation of
safety measures and worker
care practices
Ensure that risk management
practices are applied through-
out the EOC
Monitor situations for risk
exposures and ascertain the
probability and consequences
of future events
Exercise authority to halt or
modify any unsafe operations
within or outside the scope of
the EOC
Liaison
Assist in establishing and
coordinating inter-agency
contacts
Maintain a point of contact for
agency representatives from
cooperating agencies
Monitor incident operations to
identify current or potential
inter-agency problems
Maintain a point of contact for
and interact with agency
representatives
Liaise with other EOCs and
agencies/departments not
represented in the EOC
Provide information and
guidance related to external
agencies and organizations
Liaise and share information
with local authorities, other
EOCs, and provincial and
federal organizations
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68 Government of British Columbia
NOTE
Regardless of the nature of the emergency/disaster, worker care is
an essential component of any response. Embedded in the concept
of worker care is the assumption that no one who sees a disaster is
untouched by it regardless of role or function. Stress, trauma, and
loss are experienced at both the individual and collective levels.
Organizations have a role in ensuring a safe, supportive, and well-
managed working environment, while workers should monitor their
own stress levels and that of their colleagues. In an EOC, the
responsibility for ensuring implementation of worker care practices
lies with the safety/risk management function.
Other primary management functions
Reporting to the command/management function are four other functions as
described below.
MANAGEMENT FUNCTION
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Operations
Ensure the safety of operational personnel
Establish the organizational structure within the
operations function
Actively contribute to the development of
operational objectives and strategies
Identify, direct, and coordinate tactical operations
(site level); support, coordinate, and assist with
tactical operations (site support level)
Request (or release) resources as appropriate
Planning
Collect, evaluate, and display information about the
incident
Foster the development of common situational
awareness
Develop action plans as directed
Conduct long-range planning and develop plans for
incident demobilization
Prepare situation reports
Ensure organization of documentation and data
storage
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 69
MANAGEMENT FUNCTION
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Logistics
Obtain, maintain, and track acquired personnel,
facilities, equipment, and supplies
Coordinate closely with the operations function to
obtain necessary resources and establish priorities for
allocation
Ensure that critical resources are allocated according
to approved plans
Provide communications resources and support
Provide resources, including food, lodging, transport
service, etc.
Finance
Track, analyze, and report on financial projections
and actual costs
Negotiate and monitor contracts and vendor
agreements
Provide and maintain documentation related to
reimbursement from third parties
Continuously monitor the effectiveness of the
function and modify as required
Personnel accountability
Response activities at all levels are conducted in a manner that ensures safety,
efficiency, and accountability:
The incident commander organizes the incident, bringing personnel
together in a formal and systematic manner.
Personnel are deployed within a span of control that allows supervisors to
oversee effectively their location and use. (More information on span of
control is found on page 71.)
Response personnel abide by WorkSafeBC regulations, best safety practices,
and applicable safety standards.
Modular organization
The ICS organizational structure is flexible and modular. It can expand and
contract based on need (e.g., the scope of the incident, availability of personnel
and other resources, the number and complexity of hazards). As incident
complexity increases, the organization expands. The number of management
and supervisory positions may also increase.
This modular design allows the response structure to grow from a small routine
operation into a large organization capable of addressing complex needs arising
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70 Government of British Columbia
from major emergencies/disasters that involve multiple communities or
jurisdictions and agencies.
Establishment and transfer of command
The command element in the response operation is established right from the
start. The first trained responder or most qualified person who arrives at the
scene takes on the role of incident commander. The identity of the incident
commander is communicated to all response agencies.
The incident commander manages all tactical resources and oversees
operations. He or she remains in command until the incident is stabilized and
response efforts are terminated, or he or she is formally relieved and a transfer
of command is accomplished. When command is transferred, a briefing is
conducted that captures all the information required for continuing safe and
effective operations.
Single command or unified command
Single commandrefers to one person overseeing the response and serving as
the final decision-making authority. This form of command can be used when an
emergency/disaster involves only one jurisdiction and there is no functional or
jurisdictional overlap with another agency. The single commander is designated
by the appropriate authority. In some cases, multiple agencies responding to the
emergency/disaster may agree to designate a sole incident commander.
“Unified command” refers to two or more individuals sharing authority over an
emergency/disaster in which multiple agencies or jurisdictions are involved. It
is a collaborative management method that can be used during an emergency
response in which jurisdictional authority overlaps due to legal, geographical, or
other factors, thus making single command impractical. In a unified command,
several agencies with jurisdictional responsibility for the emergency/disaster
can support each other in managing the incident by preparing a common action
plan. Each participating agency does, however, maintain its own authority,
responsibility, and accountability.
Unity and chain of command
To eliminate the confusion created by multiple and conflicting directives, all
personnel must understand and abide by the established lines of authority and
reporting. With ICS, this is ensured through unity and chain of command. Each
person involved in the response operation reports to only one supervisor, and
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BC Emergency Management System [2016] 71
there is a clear hierarchy from the highest level of authority down to each
subordinate level. Such a structure improves the flow of information and
directions, helps prevent responders from taking action entirely on their own,
enhances safety, promotes accountability, and allows for effective coordination
of efforts.
Management by objectives
Management by objectives is a systematic and organized approach that focuses
on achieving goals, setting objectives, developing action plans, and monitoring
performance to obtain the best possible results from the available resources.
This approach helps ensure that personnel clearly understand the goals and
objectives of the response organization and are aware of their own roles and
responsibilities. Successful incident management requires the establishment of
measureable objectives regardless of the size or complexity of the incident.
Action planning
Action planning is a means of capturing and communicating the overall incident
response priorities in a concise and coherent way. An action plan may be oral or
written. It consists of incident objectives for a specific period of time (referred to
as an “operational period) and may include supporting documents such as maps,
organizational assignments, safety and weather information, a medical plan, a
communications plan, and/or a demobilization plan. The action planning process
is guided by the BCEMS response goals. (See page 53.)
Manageable span of control
The term “span of controlis defined as the number of resources or
organizational elements that one supervisor manages. It is usually expressed as
a ratio of supervisor to subordinates. Maintaining an effective span of control is
critical to help ensure safety and accountability. ICS indicates that the optimum
manageable span of control falls within a ratio of 1:3 to 1:7 (one supervisor for
every three to seven subordinates). When span of control is determined, the
following are taken into account: type of incident, nature of the tasks to be
performed, hazards, and safety factors.
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72 Government of British Columbia
Common terminology
Common terminology is essential in any emergency response system, especially
when multiple agencies are involved. When terms have more than one meaning
and usage varies from one agency to another, confusion and inefficiency can
result. Under the ICS model, all major organizational functions, facilities, and
resources are pre-designated and are referred to by a specific term in order to
prevent confusion and misunderstanding.
Communication and information management
The term “communication and information management” refers to an organized,
integrated, and coordinated mechanism to ensure the accurate, consistent, and
timely delivery of information to site level responders, assisting and cooperating
agencies, site support personnel, and the public/stakeholders.
This mechanism consists of the equipment, systems, and protocols for
transferring information internally and externally as well as across jurisdictions.
A common communications plan, standard operating procedures, clear text,
common frequencies, and common terminology all form an effective
communication and information management system. (Communication and
information management is described in detail on page 77.)
Comprehensive resource management
As mentioned previously, the term “resources” refers to equipment, supplies,
personnel, volunteers, and facilities that are available for assignment or staging in
support of emergency management activities. Comprehensive resource
management includes consistent processes for categorizing, ordering, dispatching,
tracking, recovering, and demobilizing resources. (Resource management is
described in detail on page 82.)
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Response activities
The dynamic environment of emergencies/disasters makes it imperative that
organizations respond in a coordinated and organized manner when
implementing the following response activities:
Incident/event notification
Activation
Development of situational awareness
Decision making
Acquisition and deployment of resources
Demobilization
Incident/event notification
The occurrence of an incident triggers the response decision-making process.
For sudden-onset events, the detection and reporting of the initial incident can
trigger event verification and the collection and analysis of situational
information. For slow-onset events, the trigger may not always be obvious. In
such cases, triggers that initiate activation may include the following:
New information becoming available
Scale of the emergency/disaster escalating in terms of urgency or
complexity
Political, social, or economic changes taking place
Activation
The term “activation” refers to the act of initiating the emergency plan and
different levels of support. Organizations identify activation triggers and
establish practices and procedures for notifying response personnel for both
sudden onset and slow-onset events.
Activating and executing emergency plans and procedures may involve one or
more of the following:
Monitoring and observation of the situation (e.g., by technical specialists)
Deployment of site level resources (e.g., fire, ambulance, police, or agency
operations personnel responding to the scene of an accident or incident)
Deployment of site support elements (e.g., activation of a DOC, EOC, or other
levels of support, such as a PREOC or PECC)
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Emergency plans identify specific triggers for the implementation of particular
actions and procedures. For example, the triggers for activating an EOC may
include the following:
Significant number of people at risk
Magnitude of the threat to people, property, or the environment
Site support required (lengthy activation, limited resources, etc.)
Resource coordination required due to limited local resources and/or the
size and scope of the emergency/disaster
Heightened media or public/stakeholder concern
Emergency plans also identify activation levels for various types of response
measures. These levels help personnel determine the types of response actions
that may be required and communicate this information to other organizations.
For example, EOCs have three levels of activation ranging from Level 1 (small
scale) to Level 3 (full scale). How these levels are defined will depend on the
organization to which they apply.
Development of situational awareness
Situational awareness means knowing what is going on and what has happened
with respect to the current incident, what could go on in terms of future impact
or outcomes, and what options exist in terms of response actions. This
knowledge relates to “one’s present environment,” which is the emergency/
disaster being responded to. Through situational awareness, a response
organization aims to become fully informed so that effective decisions can be
made to support response efforts and ensure the best possible outcome.
Group or shared situational awareness starts with individual awareness and
knowledge. That knowledge is shared to foster a common understanding among
group members, which will ultimately lead to improved decision making and
actions.
During an emergency response, agencies, government, and critical infrastructure
owners/operators conduct information-collection activities and provide time-
sensitive information and consolidated situation reports to one another to help
ensure that all concerned are kept apprised of developments. Situational
information can come from various sources, such as other agencies, other centres,
technical experts, the media, and the public.
Situational awareness requires continuous monitoring and analysis of relevant
information about actual and developing situations. The process to manage this
information is depicted below.
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INFORMATION MANAGEMENT PROCESS
Collate & Analyze
Information
Monitor/Review
Progress
Receive/Collect
Information
Disseminate Info,
Identify Actions &
Respond
2
4
3
In the analysis and assessment of collected information, the following questions
are considered:
Is the information relevant to operations?
Is the source of the information credible?
Has the information been verified?
Is the information critical?
Is the information critical for future planning?
With whom should this information be shared?
Decision making
Situational information is validated, assessed for potential impact and
consequences, and analyzed to identify options for addressing issues and
concerns. Once this process is completed, a decision is made as to the
appropriate option to be pursued. During the decision-making process, the
response goals (see page 53) are taken into account.
Decisions are documented, communicated to all who must be notified,
implemented, and then evaluated to ensure that the actions taken have addressed
the identified issues and concerns.
Acquisition and deployment of resources
A response organization must be able to identify, acquire, and deploy suitable
resources to address emergency needs. To do so, the organization needs a clear
and realistic picture of its current capabilities and an awareness of the
capabilities of other stakeholders. In major emergencies/disasters, it is not
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uncommon for organizations to receive support from other stakeholders. When
feasible, mutual aid agreements or other similar arrangements may be worked
out in advance and noted in emergency plans. (More information on resource
management is provided on page 82.)
Demobilization
Demobilization is the orderly, safe, and efficient return of an incident resource to
its original location and status. This includes personnel, volunteers, facilities,
equipment, supplies, and other resources. The process can begin at any point of
the emergency/disaster, but to facilitate accountability, it should begin as soon as
the identified resource is no longer required.
The components of demobilization include:
Reduction of staffing levels as the required services are reduced
Compilation and storage of documentation for easy retrieval, should this be
necessary after the emergency/disaster
Closing of facilities
Return/restocking of equipment and supplies
Conduct of exit interviews to capture lessons learned and identify strengths
and areas of improvement
The demobilization process is coordinated between the site and EOC, PREOC,
and/or PECC so that resources may be reassigned, if necessary, and critical
resource needs may be prioritized for demobilization.
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Communication and information
management
Definition
As mentioned previously, the term “communication and information
management” refers to an organized, integrated, and coordinated mechanism to
ensure the accurate, consistent, and timely delivery of information to site level
responders, assisting and cooperating agencies, site support personnel, and the
public/stakeholders.
Goals
With regard to response operations, the goals of communication and
information management are to:
Standardize key information so that it can be accessed easily within and
across organizations
Establish a process that promotes the regular sharing of information with
other response organizations
Link the operational and support elements within and across various
organizations
Provide a common operating picture and situational awareness for response
personnel and organizations
Maximize the use of readily available resources, including the Internet and
web-based tools
Ensure the secure management and timely release of sensitive information
Ensure the release of credible and accurate information to the public and
other stakeholders
Characteristics of an effective mechanism
To ensure the effective and timely delivery of information to all who require it,
the communication and information management mechanism that is set in place
should possess the following characteristics:
Policy and planning
Customized communication methods
Consistency in information recording methods
Interoperability
Redundancy
Common terminology, plain language
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Information security
Coordination in the release of information
Effective use of the media
Policy and planning
Clear communication policies and procedures form the basis for effective
communication and information management. Through careful planning, the
organization can determine the following:
What communications systems and platforms will be used
Who can use them
What information is essential in different situations
Technical parameters of all equipment and systems
Relevant protocols, including how and when information will be released
Customized communication methods
During a response, the following types of communication occur:
Strategic
Communication between support elements and other bodies involved in
high-level strategic decision making
Tactical
Communication between field personnel and other tactical resources
providing direct assistance
Support
Communication among logistical elements and cooperating agencies not
directly deploying tactical assets
Public
Communication to and from the public or specific stakeholder groups
A particular method (or methods) may be most effective for a specific type of
communication. Identifying the appropriate method is key.
Consistency in information recording methods
Consistency in information recording methods can help promote effective
communication and information management. Information should be recorded,
tracked, and shared in similar ways; for example, through the use of standard
forms with consistent fields and generally recognized measures.
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Interoperability
Effective and predictable communication is paramount during an emergency/
disaster. Efforts must be made to ensure that all who are required and
authorized to communicate have the tools and training they need to complete
their tasks.
The term “interoperability” has been used to refer to a desired characteristic of
emergency communications. (However, it has been and continues to be defined
differently within various spheres.) Interoperability may be defined as the
ability of emergency personnel to communicate between jurisdictions,
disciplines, and levels of government, using a variety of systems as needed and
authorized. In the context of this definition, distinctions can be made between
technical interoperability and functional interoperability.
Technical interoperability exists when two or more communications devices
can send and receive information to and from each other.
Functional interoperability exists when users have the leadership and
support, standard operating procedures, technology, training, and regular
usage to enable predictable and consistent communication.
The process for achieving interoperability involves the following tasks:
Identifying what information is needed and why
Identifying the party from whom that information should be received
Clarifying the triggers for and mechanics of exchanging information
Training and exercises on the exchange of information between agencies and
between levels of response as well as on the communications systems and their
interoperability are an important best practice that every emergency program
should incorporate.
Redundancy
A communication and information management system must be resilient: it
must be able to continue functioning even after a major impact, significant
damage, or loss of infrastructure. This can be achieved in the following ways:
By building redundancy into the information system
Alternative communication methods must be available in case the primary
or routine methods are not operating. Alternative methods include the use
of paper-based forms, courier services, and alternative technologies, such as
amateur radio and satellite phones.
By ensuring that multiple information sources are used
For example, communication between the incident commander and EOC
should be supported by alternate information sources, such as dispatch
centres, command frequencies, supporting or assisting agencies, and even
mainstream and social media.
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Common terminology, plain language
Common terminology and plain language enable response personnel to
communicate clearly and effectively. Using plain language or clear text (rather
than agency-specific codes or acronyms) facilitates coordination and
interoperability across organizations, jurisdictions, and disciplines. Policies and
procedures related to the use of common terminology and plain language are
needed.
Information security
Information security protocols are critical because inadequate security can
result in the untimely, inappropriate, or ineffective release of information. This
in turn increases the likelihood of misunderstanding and can complicate already
complex public safety situations.
Policies and procedures must be established to define the levels of access to
sensitive information. Response personnel must also be aware of the
requirements under freedom of information and protection of privacy
legislation. They must be aware that freedom of information applications may
be made after the emergency/disaster has passed.
Coordination in the release of information
During response operations, accurate information must be disseminated in a
consistent, coordinated, accessible, and timely manner. The establishment of a
joint information centre/system (JIC/JIS) may be of help in this regard. A JIC/JIS
is designed to coordinate incident information provided by multiple agencies
and integrate the data into a cohesive whole.
Effective use of the media
Response organizations must have systems and processes in place to engage the
media effectively. Both traditional and non-traditional media (i.e., social media
networks) play a critical role in the response phase. They can help in collecting
and disseminating information, and in alerting the public/stakeholders to
changing conditions and to actions they need to take (e.g., evacuation). They can
also provide indications about the kind of information the public/stakeholders
need and expect. Ongoing monitoring of the media is necessary to ensure that
information is being disseminated accurately.
The role of social media in communication and information management during
emergencies/disasters is fast expanding. Through this technology, real-time
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information can be obtained from and provided to a wide audience very rapidly.
Using social media also gives one the ability to monitor issues and address them
expeditiously. Along with these potential benefits, there are also some
challenges. For example, unconfirmed or inaccurate information can also be
spread rapidly via social media.
In engaging with all forms of media, response organizations would do well to
keep these tips in mind:
Develop a plan for using the media.
Keep information up to date. Be vigilant about accuracy. Correct any errors
clearly and promptly.
Consider the integrity of the source from which information is received.
Respond to issues in a timely manner, regardless of size, scope, or
magnitude.
Consider social media as one tool in a communication toolbox. Go offline as
well by addressing issues through other avenues where possible.
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Resource management
Definition
Whether in a routine local emergency or one that requires a coordinated
provincial response, resource management refers to the coordination, oversight,
and processes required to deliver appropriate resources in a timely manner.
Process
In an emergency/disaster, resources are needed at the site and site support levels
to enable the responsible jurisdictions and organizations to take appropriate
action. Procedures are required to ensure that suitable resources are provided in
a timely manner. These procedures should address the following:
Resource needs identification
The situation must be analyzed to identify resource requirements and to
determine resource capabilities and capacity.
Resource request management
Procedures are needed to track resources and resource requests to ensure
that these are not lost or inadvertently set aside. EOCs must keep informed
of the status of all resource requests, the person/group assigned to act on
each request, and the details of any action taken or planned.
Designation and management of critical resources
o If a specific resource is in demand by multiple agencies or jurisdictions
and not all requests can be met due to limited number, the resource may
be designated a “critical resource.” If there is competition for critical
resources, the PREOC or PECC may be used to prioritize and coordinate
resource allocation and distribution according to resource availability,
the needs arising from other emergencies/disasters, and other
constraints and considerations.
o Regional consultation can assist the PREOC in prioritizing and allocating
resources during regional emergencies/disasters. This gives the local
authorities and agencies a voice in regional decisions that would
otherwise be made by the PREOC.
Deployment of resources
Resources are mobilized and deployed in a timely manner to meet the needs
in the field. Deployment is based on priority levels:
o Emergency: Having life or death urgency
o Priority: Important to support operations within a specific time limit
o Routine: Supports regular operations
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Demobilization
If resources are no longer required to support response operations, they are
demobilized. Resources including those located at the site and at fixed
facilitiesare returned, replenished, or if necessary, repaired and/or
replaced. They are returned to their original location and status in an orderly,
safe, and efficient manner.
Payments and reimbursements
All costs associated with the use of resources are tracked. Invoices and other
financial documents are safeguarded and kept on file so that they are
available when needed for reimbursement and compensation purposes.
Information on the total cost of the response is included in the final event
report.
Responsibilities related to resource management at the site and various site
support levels must be identified and communicated to those concerned.
NOTE
The After Action Review (AAR) process is a continuous thread that runs
through all phases of emergency management. Response activities as
well as supporting actions (such as information sharing, inter-agency
communications, resource management, etc.) are subject to review. The
outcomes of these reviews and all resulting recommendations are
documented in After Action Reports. These provide input for subsequent
work done during the response phase itself as well as during recovery,
mitigation, and preparedness. This approach helps sustain the cycle of
planning, execution, review, and continuous learning that characterizes
the BCEMS approach to emergency management. (Detailed information
on the After Action process is provided on page 49.)
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8 – Recovery
What is recovery?
Definition
Recovery is the phase of emergency management in which steps and processes
are taken/implemented to:
Repair communities affected by a disaster
Restore conditions to an acceptable level or, when feasible, improve them
Restore self-sufficiency and increase resilience in individuals, families,
organizations, and communities
Recovery consists of several stages (short-term, medium-term, and long-term)
and works towards minimizing future damage to communities and the
environment.
Recovery measures are initiated as quickly as possible, generally after life safety
issues have been addressed. Here are some examples of such measures:
Temporary housing
Monitoring of health care needs, including psychosocial needs, and
continued provision of health services
Environmental impact assessment
Economic recovery
Planning and reconstruction
Key concepts
Coordinating efforts
All aid has the potential for both positive and negative impact. The goal of
recovery is to maximize the benefits and minimize the negative consequences
of assistance. Coordination helps reduce possible conflicts between various
assistance strategies.
Providing leadership
Losses cannot be managed or recovery achieved by simply allowing events to
unfold. Agencies and organizations with jurisdictional or statutory
responsibility must step forward to provide effective, transparent leadership.
Doing so will help reduce the potential for freelancing, duplication of effort,
and gaps in services that may otherwise occur.
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Empowering individuals
Successful recovery means empowering those impacted by a disaster in a way
that preserves their dignity, embraces their right of choice, and demonstrates
respect for their experience. Establishing a community recovery organization
whose members serve as advocates for those impacted by an emergency/
disaster will help ensure that this form of empowerment is realized and the
entire community/organization is engaged in the process.
Recognizing that recovery is multi-faceted
Not only does recovery unfold in several stages, there are also several levels
of recovery, such as individual, community, organizational, and government.
(More information on the stages of recovery is provided in the section that
follows.)
Acting quickly, planning for the long term
Some recovery needs are urgent, and a small amount of help delivered in a
timely manner is far more beneficial than a greater number of services that
are delivered later. In addition to quick, targeted action, the community
recovery organization engages the community in creative problem solving
over the long term.
Planning for transition
It is critical that recovery personnel plan for a transition from emergency
recovery activities to long-term community/organizational rebuilding.
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Recovery activities
The recovery phase may include but is not limited to the following activities:
Information and engagement
Financial management (e.g., insurance, support through DFA Program)
Continued provision of key services (e.g., post-disaster health care, lodging)
Business recovery
Critical infrastructure recovery
Disaster debris management
Information and engagement
The goal of information and engagement in the recovery phase is to ensure that
all involved have the information they need to understand what happens during
this phase and that this information is made available in a consistent, accurate,
and transparent manner.
The information is disseminated to various target audiences:
Internal departments
All levels of government
Emergency management agencies
Not-for-profit organizations
Donors
Public/stakeholders
Insurance adjusters
Auditors/inspectors
A variety of communication methods may be used, including communications
technology (e.g., websites, social media, and news media), the dissemination of
information through community resilience centres, and venues for public
engagement, such as community meetings.
Financial management
Insurance
Insurance is a financial tool that covers the insured party for some risks in
disasters. Few individuals or businesses have the reserve of funds necessary to
take on such risk themselves. Purchased insurance helps to cover financial costs
associated with certain types of damage and rebuilding after a disaster.
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Private insurance for individuals and businesses covers most risks; however,
with the ever increasing number of insurance claims being covered and the
involvement of international reinsurers, the timing of a settlement can have a
significant impact on recovery. Insurance premiums are expected to increase
over time as the payment of claims from disasters increases. The ability of
households, businesses, and local government to secure insurance may be a
critical element in determining how quickly recovery occurs. The onus is largely
on the insurance holder to know what his or her policy covers and whom to
contact when the need arises.
Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) Program
When a disaster has a significant impact on a community, the province may
declare the area eligible for support through the Disaster Financial Assistance
(DFA) Program. Administered by EMBC, this program provides compensation in
compliance with the Emergency Program Act and the Compensation and
Disaster Financial Assistance Regulation.
DFA helps those affected by a disaster in situations where the losses could not
be insured or where other assistance programs are not available. It provides or
reinstates the necessities of life, including help to repair and restore damaged
homes and to re-establish or maintain the viability of small businesses and
working farms. DFA also helps local governments repair essential infrastructure.
DFA can provide financial compensation for losses deemed eligible under the
program criteria. While there is no maximum claim amount for local
governments, they are required to provide a recovery plan by completing a
Local Government Application for DFA.
Grants, special funding, and recovery loans
Under certain circumstances, specialized grants, funding, or loans may be
available to support individual, business, or community recovery. Generally
sponsored by provincial and federal governments, these programs do not exist
before a disaster; hence, funding streams are not guaranteed. Furthermore,
eligibility requirements, coverage limitations, and terms and conditions for
financial support vary widely and likely depend on the specific effects of the
emergency/disaster. Regardless, in the event of a major disaster, local
authorities can assist individuals and businesses by ensuring that, should special
funds become available, information about them is accessible (ideally through
“one-stop shop” websites and resilience centers), and applicants are offered
guidance and advice as they navigate through documentation requirements.
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Continued provision of key services
Post-disaster health care
Disaster recovery efforts emphasize the protection and promotion of the health
and well-being of affected citizens. The health system (on all levels of government
and through private entities) is expected to:
Continue providing emergency services
Restore health services as soon as possible
Meet any surge in demand created by the disaster
Continue to assess psychosocial needs, and develop and implement plans for
addressing them
Individuals affected by a disaster may require different forms of support, such as
continuity of health care services, measures to ensure environmental health,
psychosocial support, and information on healthy lifestyle choices.
While the health system has a key role in such activities, all stakeholders involved
in recovery efforts have a role to play in the promotion of health after a disaster.
Lodging
With regard to lodging, the goal in recovery is to provide sufficient emergency
lodging as close as possible to the affected area. The ability to provide lodging
during the recovery phase depends on the availability of resources such as
trailers, tents, temporary shelters, mobile homes, vacant apartment units, etc.
The three types of lodging are:
Shelter
This refers to housing that is provided during the initial emergency response
phase. It involves the shortest period of time, typically ranging from three to
six months. Shelter is most often shared in groups and is always considered
transitional. Group lodging is a functional element used for evacuees during
the response phase.
Transitional lodging
Transitional lodging is an interim service typically provided after the shelter
stage and before the housing stage. The transitional lodging period could
begin immediately after the initial response phase and may last for several
months. Transitional lodging is generally more private or semi-private than
shelter, but it may still include some shared services. The provision of
transitional lodging may involve the cleaning, restoration, and repair of
damaged accommodations.
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Housing
This refers to the permanent homes that people occupy, and would not be
considered interim or transitional. An example is new construction and
renovated housing stock (single-family homes, apartment buildings,
condominiums, etc.).
Business recovery
Business and industry provide resources, expertise, and essential services
(including critical infrastructure) that enable communities to function. Hence,
they play a fundamental role in a community’s recovery.
Businesses themselves have their own disaster recovery needs, however, and
governments and communities have a role to play in supporting business
continuity and recovery efforts. The primary goal of these efforts is to assist the
private sector in implementing their business continuity plans so that they can
resume operations in as timely a manner as possible.
In their efforts to resume operations, businesses should consider mutual aid
relationships and contracts, possible income-generating opportunities, financial
assistance programs, and other forms of support that may be available in the
community.
Critical infrastructure recovery
Any disruption or loss involving critical infrastructure can have debilitating
effects on a community or organization. The ability to recover from such a
disruption or loss is key to overall recovery, and depends on a coordinated and
comprehensive effort to assess impact, prioritize infrastructure restoration, and
initiate rebuilding processes.
In the context of critical infrastructure recovery, the following are to be
considered:
Conduct of rapid damage assessment
Confirmation of dependencies and interdependencies
Information sharing among stakeholders (i.e., sharing of restoration plans
and recovery strategies)
Prioritization of support resources as required
Incorporation of mitigation activities into the restoration and rebuilding
process
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Disaster debris management
The scale and impact of debris generated from one disaster can overwhelm
existing solid waste structures and resources. When planning for disaster debris,
one must also account for the continuation of regular solid waste services. Debris
management also influences the speed of physical, social, and economic recovery.
When done effectively, it helps ensure the implementation of other recovery
activities, such as the resumption of services (e.g., health, transportation, financial,
and critical infrastructure), the resumption of business, and response to
psychosocial issues.
NOTE
Disaster debris management does not include the handling
of human remains. The BC Coroners Service takes the lead
with respect to this area of concern. Fatality management
plans have been developed to coordinate the completion of
required tasks at the provincial and local levels.
Stages
As shown in this diagram, disaster debris management consists of five stages.
DISASTER DEBRIS MANAGEMENT PROCESS
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Debris forecasting
This refers to the act of estimating how much debris a specific emergency
event would generate. This is done before an emergency/disaster as a
planning tool and also after the event to confirm the quantity of debris
actually generated. Debris forecasting includes the determination of
categories of debris, such as concrete, steel, vegetation, mass carcasses,
construction, and demolition.
NOTE
The Ministry of Agriculture provides advice and support
for the disposal of livestock carcasses that may result
from a disaster. Support includes coordinating with local
authorities to secure resources, identifying disposal sites,
and, depending on the scale of the event, engaging
contractors to perform disposal services,
such as
transport, landfilling, or composting.
Collection
Several considerations are taken into account when planning debris
collection. At the highest level, a decision must be made on whether it will be
done via curbside collection or through drop-off services. Transportation
capacity and options will influence these decisions.
Debris management sites
Deciding where to locate debris sites may be a politically sensitive issue.
After a major disaster, sites will need to be repurposed (temporarily or
permanently) to accept and process disaster debris. Operational objectives
will determine whether debris is sorted on-site or at central locations; and
site size and selection are influenced by the quantity and composition of
debris. Sites will then need to be qualified based on the specific properties of
the debris to be housed.
Reduction and recycling
Reduction and recycling options help reduce the quantity and physical size
of debris; hence, these options also reduce the strain on resources. Due to
the co-mingled or contaminated nature of disaster debris, business-as-usual
practices, approvals, and regulations may not apply. How waste is processed
and used must be investigated.
Final disposal
Several options exist for final disposal of disaster debris. These include
regular landfills, infill projects (terrestrial and marine) and just-in-time
landfills. Depending on the quantity and urgency of disposal, exceptions to
regulations and expediting of approvals may need to be considered.
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NOTE
Where disaster debris is stored and for how long may
have an impact on human and environmental health. For
example, site conditions will dictate how fast or to what
degree contaminants will be absorbed into the land and
waterways. How the debris is handled also influences the
short- and long-term health of personnel.
Administrative functions
Several administrative functions cut across all stages of disaster debris
management:
Roles and responsibilities
These need to be clearly identified. It is important to acknowledge, however,
that responsibilities will shift depending on the size of the event.
Compliance mechanisms
The legislative and regulatory compliance mechanisms that exist for regular
operations will also need to be set in place. How (or if) these existing
practices may be loosened or fast-tracked during an emergency/disaster
must be determined.
Financing
The Disaster Financial Assistance Guidelines speak directly and indirectly to
reimbursement options for disaster debris. The DFA Program provides
different funding schemes for response and for recovery (100% recoverable
and 80% recoverable, respectively). As the majority of disaster debris efforts
occur during the recovery phase, it would be prudent to identify funding
sources to address the remaining 20% of costs not covered by the DFA. It
would also be prudent to establish mechanisms by which invoices could be
paid while reimbursements are being processed and approved. Insurance is
an additional financial consideration: What is covered? What is not? What
documentation is required? What is the process and timing for
reimbursement?
Depending on the scale of the disaster and the amount of debris generated,
many different levels of government may be involved, with the support of
private industry. Throughout the process, various agencies and private groups
will need to be engaged, including engineering, solid waste, emergency
management, transportation, environment, health, elected officials, recycling,
disposal, auditors, finance, logistics, security, communications, and media.
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Stages of recovery
As described in the table below, the pursuit of recovery is a three-stage process.
When moving through these stages, the affected community/organization will
need to:
Set priorities for recovery
Articulate the roles and responsibilities of all involved
Set realistic milestones for gauging how much progress has been made
Ensure the effective transfer of knowledge, expertise, services, and support
The timing of the transition from one stage of recovery to the next may vary
depending on the circumstances. Of greater importance is the progression of
activities that will enable the affected community/organization to return to pre-
disaster conditions. The extent of the recovery process reflects the scope and
scale of the disaster.
STAGE OF RECOVERY
FEATURES
Short-term
(e.g., days to weeks after
the emergency/disaster)
This stage begins simultaneously with the onset of
response activities.
The focus is on ensuring the continued provision of basic
human needs and key support services.
As the emergency/disaster progresses, steps toward
recovery are taken and planning objectives are
establ</