Authors: Suzanna Alsayed and Frances MacTaggart

May 3rd to May 9th 2020 – marks the 25th Annual Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada! Emergency Preparedness Week is a Canadian initiative to promote emergency preparedness across the country. This global pandemic has reminded us more than ever that being prepared for emergencies is crucial. While it feels as if we all have been experiencing and living through an Emergency Management Exercise for the past 2 months, this week provides us with the opportunity to encourage you and your families to take the first steps into preparing for all hazards for today and the future.

What is Emergency Management (EM)?

Emergency Management, in short, is the management of emergencies. The field of EM involves providing and attributing the right resources and responsibilities to the right people to address all areas that are involved with emergencies, which includes preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery capabilities. The name of the game is to reduce the vulnerabilities that may be exploited, to mitigate the impacts felt by an emergency and to prepare people for what may occur and what the next steps are.

What is the Role of an Emergency Manager? 

Think of an emergency manager as the circus ringleader for what is occurring during the incident. Emergency managers are responsible for:

• Providing education on how to prepared for an emergency;
• Coordinate the incident response and recovery operations;
• Develop emergency programs for the public and private sectors depending on the industry they serve;
• Providing communications on the nature of the emergency (which has, is, or will occur);
• Conduct training for those in your organization to practice their emergency response skills;
• So much more.

How to Become an Emergency Manager? 

In today’s day and age, there are many avenues that you can explore in order to obtain your basic certifications in EM. These resources are available both online and at post-secondary institutions to provide EM certifications and learning opportunities. The Canadian Government – Provincial and Federal – offer the public online modules, which provide education on the basic principles of EM and how you can apply them within your daily routine. You can also:

• Volunteer with Canadian Red Cross or with a local EM organization
• Attend EM events and/or conferences occurring in your area or abroad
• Partake in EM exercise as an actor
• Attend a free course online or at a certified facility

What Can You Do – To Be Prepared?

Everyone has a role when it comes to preparedness, whether it’s for your family, for your community, and for your country. Here are some resources and activities you can do to stay aware and build your preparedness further:

• Download EM apps on your phone, such as the Canadian Red Cross Be Ready App.
• Visit the St. John Ambulance’s website to learn how to build your own emergency kit or to purchase a prepared 72-hour emergency kit for your home, office or car.
• Listen to EM based podcasts
• Stay informed about what’s occurring in the news and follow EM organizations, such as Hilt International Security.