The five generally recognized phases in emergency management:
- Prevention activities reduce the potential for emergencies. We have done work in Brampton on this primarily with regards to coordination with industries handling hazardous goods. We also developed plans aiming at protecting our critical infrastructure.
- Mitigation planning reduces the impact of emergencies that we cannot prevent. The Greater Toronto Conservation Authority has worked with the City of Brampton for a number of years to institute a floodplains management program. Urban planning also has ensured that the city places new residential areas away from high-risk industrial sectors and heavy transportation corridors of the city. Work is also in progress to designate hazardous goods transportation routes in Brampton away from residential areas.
- Preparedness management ensures we have all the tools required to respond to emergencies. It involves writing plans, training employees and partners, implementing and testing the plans, and educating the public.
- Response is what we do when an emergency occurs. All the work done in the three previous phases come together at this stage. Much of the work of the Emergency Management Office at that time is to coordinate support services to the emergency site. The emergency responders are capable of handling most situations but may require additional resources. The emergency may also have an impact on the rest of the population outside of the emergency area. That is when the Emergency Management Office steps in to aid in coordinating response.
- Recovery efforts start where the response ends and sometimes even before. Our recovery plan includes tasks related to cleanup, restoration, rebuilding and generally trying to get back to previous conditions. It also includes elements such as grief counselling and helping in creating jobs to compensate for those lost because of the emergency. It even includes economic recovery when a major event hits the commercial and/or industrial base of our city. We are working with organizations such as the Board of Trade and others to ensure we are ready to cope with such situations.