Emergency Management Planning for Communities

Municipalities are the first line of defense in an emergency and are responsible under legislation to respond when events threaten the safety of people, property and the environment. Managing emergencies often involves multiple jurisdictions, levels of government, agencies and other emergency responders.

Emergency Management for Municipalities/Band Councils

In Saskatchewan, municipalities must establish emergency plans by The Emergency Planning Act, 1989. The plan gives council the responsibility for the direction and control of a municipal emergency response in order to take action to implement the plan and to protect the property, health, safety and welfare of the public.

This legislation requires municipalities to:

  • appoint a municipal planning committee;
  • establish an Emergency Measures (Management) Organization (EMO);
  • appoint an Emergency Coordinator; and
  • prepare an emergency plan.

Only council or a members of council in the absence of a quorum can officially declare a local emergency (the are under a "state" of emergency after the Declaration of Local Emergency is signed) in a municipality and exercise the special powers the legislation confers on council. The Act protects municipal officials from personal liability for their decisions and actions provided they are acting in good faith and are not grossly negligent.

The Government of Saskatchewan can also declare an emergency through an Order-in-Council and direct municipal resources or direct one municipality to assist another during the emergency. The legislation also provides for recovering the extraordinary costs of responding to certain emergencies. A copy of The Emergency Planning Act, 1989 should be attached to a municipal emergency plan.

Government's Role in Emergency or Disaster Response

The SPSA contributes to the safety of its residents and to the protection of property and the environment before, during and after an emergency or a disaster.

SPSA (ESOs) can help local governments, first responders and communities build their capacity to respond to emergencies through planning, training, exercises and supporting each of the four pillars in the life cycle of an emergency:

  • Mitigation - actions taken to eliminate a hazard or to reduce the probability and the effect, should the disaster occur.
  • Preparedness - arrangements to ensure that if an emergency occurs the services and resources including human resources needed to cope can be efficiently mobilized.
  • Response - actions taken to save lives and property during an emergency.
  • Recovery - actions taken to return a community to normal or near-normal conditions.

The SPSA also provides support and advice to local officials during an emergency event. Depending on the magnitude of an event, other levels of government may be requested to assist.

Provincial resources may become involved at the point where local capacity is not sufficient to provide an adequate response and the jurisdiction has declared a Local State of Emergency. This response may include opening the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) to provide a central point to co-ordinate the operational response of provincial government ministries, agencies and Crown corporations.

Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC)

When emergencies begin to escalate beyond the capacity of a local jurisdiction or in a number of jurisdictions, the PEOC may be activated – depending on level of the incident(s). It remains activated 24 hours a day during an emergency.

The PEOC becomes "one voice" for those communities needing help. This is accomplished by using an incident command system, which brings together provincial ministries, agencies and organizations and helps them work together to aid those who have requested assistance and to coordinate response and resources.

MORE RESOURCES
Band Council Resolution - Sample Format 
Example of a resolution that would allow a First Nations Band Council the responsibility to direct and control an emergency response in their community.

Local Emergency Declaration and Termination - Sample Format
Example of a resolution that would allow a municipal Council the responsibility to control, and then end, an emergency response in their community.

Developing a Community Emergency Response Plan - A Step by Step Guide

Hazard Vulnerability Risk Analysis Tool Kit for Communities

Community Emergency Management Plan

Council Emergency Management Plan

Emergency Information Plan

Emergency Operations Centre Emergency Response Plan

Evacuation Plan

Plan Reference Section

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