The Emergency Management Office undertakes planning to maximize the protection of life, public infrastructure, private property and the environment in the event of a major emergency or disaster. To meet this mandate, the Emergency Management Office works closely with Richmond's protective service agencies and other City departments to develop plans and programs which outline the City's mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery measures. This work is guided by the City's Emergency Planning Committee.
Emergency Management Bylaw
The Emergency Management Organization Establishment Bylaw, No. 7898, establishes the structure under which the City will operate in an emergency as well as designates the emergency planning responsibilities.
To prevent or lessen the impact of disasters
The first step to preventing or lessening the damaging effects of natural and man-made disasters on the community is to determine the potential impact local hazards would have on our infrastructure, City operations, economy, residents, and businesses. To start, the City's Emergency Planning Committee has identified the following as the key threats to Richmond:
- CBRNE (Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives)
- Dangerous Goods
- Medical Emergencies
- Critical Infrastructure Failure
- Severe Weather
The next step is to undertake studies of these hazards, commonly referred to as a hazard risk and vulnerability analysis, to develop a better understanding of their potential effects and begin to develop mitigation strategies and response plans to lessen their negative impact.
To ensure plans and programs are in place to facilitate an effective response
The City prepares several emergency plans to establish an emergency response structure to manage the City's response to major emergencies, to identify the roles and responsibilities of key staff and response agencies, to address the City's response to specific hazards which threaten our community, and to ensure the City can provide personal care to those directly affected by disaster.
To reduce injuries and to lessen the economic and psychological impacts caused by major disasters, individuals, families and businesses need to be prepared. In a major emergency, residents may be on their own for a minimum of 72 hours. To help residents understand the risks, develop their emergency plans, and take action, we aim to deliver key emergency preparedness messages to the public by:
- providing Preparedness Workshops;
- developing Publications to inform residents of local risks, how to prepare and the related mitigation and preparedness activities;
- hosting special events and attending community events to raise community awareness.
Training & Exercises
The Emergency Management Office coordinates the training and exercise opportunities for staff and volunteers who have designated role s in the City's Emergency Plans. Training and exercises ensure staff and volunteers can effectively respond in an emergency by allowing them to regularly practice their skills, test emergency plans and procedures and to encourage interagency participation.
To conduct emergency operations to protect life and property
Emergency Operations Centre
In the event of an emergency the City will activate its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) which is located at the City's Public Works Yard. The EOC is a facility where key City personnel and other response agencies gather to provide policy direction to the on-site incident commander(s), co-ordinate resource requests from the site(s) and manage all non-site activities. To ensure the EOC is in a constant state of readiness, staff regularly test communications equipment and maintain an inventory of essential supplies.
Disaster Response Routes
The City of Richmond has adopted Disaster Response Routes to ensure first responders can quickly and easily move people to safety and resources to the community during a disaster. Residents can help to keep these roads clear, when activated, by staying off the routes and moving parked cars. For more information see the Disaster Response Routes section.
Emergency Social Services
Emergency Social Services (ESS) are those services provided on a short-term basis to preserve the emotional and physical well being of those affected by an emergency. These temporary services may include emergency food, clothing, lodging, transportation and counselling. Trained volunteers and staff would assess the needs of the individuals and provide referrals to local businesses and organizations for the service.
To sustain business operations and rebuild to restore economic viability
Business continuity is a vital planning process which aids organizations in preparing for and recovering from emergencies. The process includes identifying vital business functions and developing plans to recover these functions so that they can continue or resume operating as soon as possible. Business continuity planning is vital to an organizations economic viability the sooner one can resume operations, the sooner one can provide services to the community. In the City of Richmond, the Finance, IT and Emergency Management departments have designated a staff team to develop a Business Continuity Plan for the City.
Businesses can and should prepare their own recovery plans. To help with the process, see our Business Disaster Response & Recovery Guide.