Emergency Management Planning - Frequently Asked Questions
This document was prepared by Public Safety Canada and it intended solely for the use of federal "government institutions", as defined in section 2 of the Emergency Management Act. Any use which a third party makes of this document, or any reliance on or decisions made based on it, are the responsibility of such third parties. Public Safety Canada accepts no responsibility whatsoever for damages or injury, if any, suffered by any third party as a result of decisions or actions based on this document. Any third parties should consult with their appropriate advisors regarding the preparation of emergency plans to meet their specific needs.
1. What is Emergency Management (EM) Planning?
- EM Planning is a systematic approach for identifying and minimizing the impact of risks to life, property and the environment.
- EM Planning provides the foundation for coordinating and integrating all activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the capability to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from threatened or actual natural disasters, criminal acts including terrorism or other man-made disasters.
2. Why should federal institutions undertake EM Planning?
- Under the Emergency Management Act (2007), all federal Ministers are responsible for developing, testing, and maintaining mandate-specific emergency management plans and identifying risks that are within or related to their area of responsibility.
- EM Planning promotes a common understanding of the risks, threats and vulnerabilities that may impact an organization and its related sectors, and integrates strategies for addressing possible situations.
- EM planning will help federal institutions develop more comprehensive and robust systems and practices in emergency management which will, in turn, help strengthen the Government of Canada system.
- EM Planning provides a systematic way to think through the life cycle of a potential event, determine required capabilities and resources, and help stakeholders learn and practice their roles.
3. What is the Emergency Management Planning Guide for?
- Emergency Management Planning Guide (the Guide) has been developed to assist government institutions in the preparation of an EM plan and also in response to the recommendations made by the Auditor General of Canada in her audit of emergency management, tabled in Parliament in November 2009.
- The Guide furthers the objectives of the Emergency Management Act (EMA), and together with the Federal Policy for Emergency Management serves to assist in strengthening resiliency by promoting a coordinated approach and a more uniform structure across federal government institutions.
- Its purpose is to assist all federal institutions in meeting their responsibilities under the EMA to identify the risks that are within or related to their area of responsibility — including those related to critical infrastructure — and to provide those institutions with a step-by-step approach to develop their all-hazards Strategic Emergency Management Plans (SEMP).
4. What is the planning premise of EM planning?
- EM Planning should be based on all four pillars of emergency management and a comprehensive All-Hazards Risk Assessment.
5. What are the "4 pillars" of EM
- Prevention and mitigation: Prevention and mitigation refers to actions taken to identify and reduce the impacts and risks of hazards before an emergency or disaster occurs.
- Preparedness: Preparedness increases the ability to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies and to recover more quickly from their long-term effects and involves actions taken prior to an event to ensure the capability and capacity to respond.
- Response: Response refers to actions taken during or immediately after an emergency or disaster for the purpose of managing the consequences.
- Recovery: Recovery refers to actions taken after an emergency or disaster to re-establish or rebuild conditions and services.
6. When should I begin EM planning?
- Optimally, the timing for EM Planning would correspond with a federal institution's environmental scans and related risk assessment activities.
- Your Strategic EM Plan (SEMP) should be linked to your Corporate / Business Planning Cycle and reflective of your established priorities.
7. What is a Strategic EM Plan (SEMP)?
- A SEMP establishes a federal government institution's objectives, approach and structure that set out how the institution will assist the coordinated federal emergency response and should if applicable include any Emergency Support Functions.
- EM plans, such as the SEMP, represent an institution's planning associated with its "external" environment.
- The qualifier "Strategic" is used to differentiate this high-level plan from other types of EM plans, including operational plans. The development and implementation of a SEMP is an important complement to other types of EM plans, because it promotes an integrated and coordinated approach to emergency management planning.
8. Are there other types of EM Plans?
- Yes. There are several different types of EM Plans:
- Operational Plans
- Response Plans
- Incident- / Risk-Specific Plans (i.e. fire)
- Event-Specific Plans (i.e. G8)
- Institution or Division Specific Plans (i.e. Regional Plan)
- Business Continuity Plans
- Operational Plans
9. What is meant by All-Hazards Risk Assessment?
- All-Hazards Risk Assessment is a systematic approach for concurrently identifying, analyzing and estimating all natural, accidental and malicious threats and hazards.
Risk Assessment answers four key questions in a systematic way, as a basis for
all EM planning:
- What can go wrong and how much warning time are we likely to have?
- How likely is it that the risk will happen?
- What are the consequences for specific stakeholders and society as a whole?
- How well prepared is the institution, collectively, to respond and recover from such a risk?
- By addressing
these questions systematically, an All-Hazards
- Promotes the development of a management structure, processes and procedures throughout the four phases of EM that are applicable to every significant identified hazard;
- Helps to balance and prioritize risk investments and actions;
- Helps to identify interdependencies;
- Promotes integration of lessons learned and adoption of a forward-looking approach; and
- Supports consistent approach and enables cooperation
10. How does All-Hazards Risk Assessment relate to EM Planning?
- All-Hazards Risk Assessment informs all pillars of EM Planning.
- EM Planning based on an all-hazards approach recognizes that the causes of emergencies can vary greatly, but many of the effects do not.
- EM Planning based on an all-hazards approach allows planners to address emergency functions common to all hazards in the basic plan instead of having unique plans for every type of hazard.
- All-hazards EM Planning supports the identification of common tasks and who is responsible for accomplishing those tasks.
11. What EM training is available and where can it be provided?
- Public Safety Canada offers several courses available to all levels of employees through the Canadian Emergency Management College.
12. What tools are available to assist me through the EM planning process?
- In addition to offering several EM-related courses, Public Safety Canada provides you with guidance documents such as the Emergency Management Planning Guide, and the Emergency Management Leading Practices.
- Moreover, workshops are also held in support of implementation of those EM leading practices.
- Finally, criteria for self-assessment and evaluation of Strategic EM Plans are established by Public Safety Canada.
13. How frequently will the EM Planning Guide be updated?
- The EM Planning Guide will be updated in the 2011 – 2012 fiscal year to reflect the integration of the All-Hazards Risk Assessment Framework, which is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2010.
- Subsequent revisions will be made on an annual basis, or as the situation dictates and amendments will be made at that time.
For further information, please refer to the Emergency Management Planning Guide at: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/mrgnc-mngmnt-pnnng/index-eng.aspx or email us at: EMPlanning.Guide@ps-sp.gc.ca
Emergency Management Planning Unit
Public Safety Canada
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