The Niagara Region Emergency Management Plan establishes the framework for responding to a number of risks Niagara Region may face in the future. In collaboration with key officials, agencies, departments and stakeholders, it's a guideline that outlines collective and individual roles and responsibilities in responding to, managing and recovering from an emergency.
Section 2.1 of the Act provides the legal authority to develop and implement a plan of this nature. This section of the Act states "Every municipality shall develop and implement an emergency management program and the council of the municipality shall by by-law adopt the emergency management program".
The purpose of the emergency management plan during an emergency is to facilitate and guide the effective coordination of human and physical resources, services and activities necessary to:
It also makes provision for the efficient administration, coordination, and implementation of extraordinary arrangements and response measures taken by Niagara Region to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Niagara during an emergency by:
Section 5 of the Act states that the emergency plan of a lower tier municipality in an upper-tier municipality shall conform to the emergency plan of the upper-tier municipality.
Niagara Region as the upper tier municipality provides region wide services in support of the 12 local area municipalities. Therefore, it's important that the emergency response plans of Niagara Region and the 12 local area municipalities are aligned specifically as they relate to the provision of Niagara Region services during emergency situations.
Section 1 of the Act defines an emergency as: "A situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident whether intentional or otherwise."
Any situation that meets the above definition, occurring within or impacting within the Niagara region may precipitate the activation of the Niagara Region Emergency Management Plan.
The legislation under which Niagara Region and its employees are authorized to respond to an emergency are the Act and the Niagara Region Emergency Management Program By-Law.
The Act requires municipalities to develop, implement and maintain an emergency management program and adopt it with a by-law. An emergency management program must consist of:
Ontario Regulation 380 / 04 describes emergency management standards for municipal emergency management programs. There are a number of required elements including:
The Niagara Region Emergency Management Program By-Law approves the enactment of the Niagara Region Emergency Management Plan and other requirements for the program.
At Niagara Region, the emergency operations centre management team leads the municipal control group as defined by Ontario Regulation 380 / 04.
It's important for regional councillors to understand and support the coordinated and timely management of information in emergency situations. The Regional Chair and regional councillors, in their capacity as Niagara Regional Council, will act as the policy group in the event the Niagara Region's emergency operations centre is activated. The Regional Chair, or designate, as part of the emergency operations centre management team, will relay information and requests for policy direction to Regional Council.
The main responsibilities of regional councillors are to:
Each department and support agency involved with the Niagara Region Emergency Management Plan shall prepare emergency response procedures or guidelines which align with the plan. These procedures or guidelines will outline the department or support agency's responsibilities during an emergency.
First responders and municipal and regional departments manage many emergencies that occur on a day-to-day basis. As the magnitude of an emergency increases, so will the requirement for additional support from within Niagara. Municipalities may call upon Niagara Region to provide assistance. Niagara Region, in turn, may call upon the provincial government to provide resources to assist in dealing with the overall impact of the public emergency.
The emergency responders at the site or sites of the emergency provide tactical response to the emergency as they attempt to mitigate its effects and bring the emergency under control. When additional resources are required, the incident commander may request the activation of the emergency operations centre to provide support.
An emergency operations centre is a physical location where the leadership of a municipality can gather to collectively and collaboratively support emergency response and manage the consequences of an emergency.
Municipal Response: Each municipality in Niagara has a designated emergency operations centre where senior staff and relevant agencies will gather to provide support to the site of the emergency.
Corporate Response: Niagara Region's emergency operations centre is where a Niagara Region response to any emergency event occurring within, or impacting within regional boundaries is managed. Niagara Region has designated and equipped both a primary and alternate emergency operations centre.
The emergency operations centre management team provides the overall management and coordination of site support activities and consequence and recovery management. The team acts as the leadership team for the emergency control group under the Act and are responsible for:
This plan can be implemented as soon as an emergency occurs, or is expected to occur, which is considered to be of such magnitude as to warrant its implementation.
In addition, this plan can be implemented in anticipation of large events. An official declaration of an emergency does not have to be made for the plan to be implemented to protect the lives and property of the inhabitants of, and visitors to, Niagara region.
Any of the following Niagara Region corporate leadership team members (or their designates) have the authority to activate the emergency operations centre when they feel the activation is necessary.
When an emergency exists, but has not yet been declared, Niagara Region employees and first responders may take such action(s) as identified in the Niagara Region Emergency Management Plan necessary to protect lives and property.
The Regional Chair should declare an emergency under section 4 of the Act where he or she considers it necessary to implement the plan to protect property and the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of Niagara.
The mayor (or designated alternate) of any of the 12 Niagara area municipalities has the authority to declare an emergency within the boundaries of their respective municipality.
The Regional Chair or designated alternate, as head of the council, has the authority to declare that an emergency exists within the boundaries of the Niagara region.
Although the Regional Chair is empowered to declare a regional emergency at any location within the regional boundaries, the Regional Chair does not have the power to declare an emergency on behalf of any local area municipality. That power rests only with the mayor of each specific municipality and their respective designated alternates.
In declaring an emergency, the Regional Chair will identify the geographical boundaries of the emergency area. The decision whether to declare an emergency and the designation of geographical boundaries of the emergency area will be made in consultation with the emergency operations centre management team.
The emergency operations centre management team will ensure that all the necessary personnel and supporting agencies concerned are advised of the declaration of the emergency.
Upon declaration of an emergency in Niagara, the Regional Chair or designate shall notify:
The following may also be notified of a declaration of emergency:
The premier of the province of Ontario (or designated alternate) has the authority to declare a provincial emergency to exist within the boundaries of the province of Ontario.
In addition to a provincial declaration, the premier also has the authority to declare an emergency on behalf of any community within provincial boundaries and may also at any time declare that an emergency is terminated on behalf of any Ontario municipality.
When it has been determined by the emergency operations centre management team that the emergency should be terminated, the Regional Chair and / or council will make an official termination of the declared emergency in writing. The premier of Ontario may also terminate an emergency at any time on behalf of any Ontario municipality.
The emergency operations centre director who is the Niagara Region CAO or designate, will ensure that all personnel and supporting agencies concerned are advised of the termination of the emergency.
Upon termination of an emergency in Niagara, the Regional Chair or designate shall notify:
The following may also be notified of a declaration of emergency:
A support agency is an agency or organization that is either an assisting agency or cooperating agency.
It is possible that assistance from other levels of government, or support agencies with specialized knowledge or expertise, may be required by Niagara Region to help successfully respond to an emergency situation.
Depending on the nature of the emergency and the assistance required, these agencies may be requested to attend the emergency site(s) and/or emergency operations centre to provide assistance, or provide information and advice to the emergency operations centre management team through the liaison officer.
Where provincial assistance is required, which is outside of the normal departmental or service working agreements, the request will be made to Office of Fire Marshal and Emergency Management through the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.
Requests for personnel or resources from the federal government are requested through the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre who in turn liaises with the Federal Government Operations Centre.
The liaison officer is responsible for inviting required or requested support agencies to the emergency operations centre, as identified by the emergency operations centre director and emergency operations centre management team. During the emergency operations centre activation various support agencies may be working with the emergency operations centre. They are defined below as either assisting agencies or cooperating agencies.
Assisting agencies are those external agencies or organizations that are directly providing operational / tactical resources at the site(s) or emergency operations centre. They will have a branch coordinator sitting in the emergency operations centre under the operations section. Representatives from assisting agencies should have the authority to make decisions and commitments on all relevant matters for their agency.
Cooperating agencies are those external agencies that support the incident or supply assistance that is not directly operational or tactical in nature. Their role is usually not critical enough to have a branch coordinator in the emergency operations centre. The liaison officer will be the cooperating agencies' primary contact within the emergency operations centre.
These assisting agencies and cooperating agencies may include, but are not limited to:
The incident commander at site, appointed by unified command or determined by the first agency on scene, is responsible for directing and / or controlling resources by virtue of explicit legal, agency, or delegated authority and is responsible for the overall management of the response. As the situation changes, the incident commander will change based on level of authority. The incident commander is responsible for and / or has the authority to:
The following response goals are applied to all emergency situations. In order of priority they are:
The following positions are considered to be the emergency operations centre management team.
The primary responsibility of the emergency operations centre management team is to provide for the overall management and coordination of site support activities and consequence and recovery management issues.
It is the responsibility of the emergency operations centre management team to ensure that response priorities are established, and that planning and response activities are coordinated, both within the emergency operations centre (i.e. between sections) and between sites and other emergency operations centres. The emergency operations centre management team consists of the following positions:
The policy director is the Regional Chair or designate and holds the position of policy director as the head of the policy group (which is Regional Council). Responsibilities of the policy director include:
This position is filled by the Niagara Region CAO or designate and have overall authority and responsibility for the activities of the emergency operations centre which include:
A support team from strategic communications and public affairs assists the information officer in meeting these tasks. This support team includes personnel for online communications.
The emergency operations centre operations section chief coordinates resource requests, resource allocations, and response operations in support of incident commanders at one or more sites.
Branch coordinators oversee the operations of a particular department, division, section or agency. A branch coordinator will be responsible for coordinating the activities of their department / support agency site personnel and dispatch centre (if one exists). Additional branch staff may be needed, dependent on the size of the emergency event and the support required. Branch coordinators may include, but are not limited to:
The planning section is responsible to:
The logistics section is responsible to:
The finance and administration section is responsible to:
The emergency notification procedure outlines the process for notification of emergency operations centre personnel to place them on alert or request that they respond to the emergency operations centre. The procedure also includes the confidential contact information for emergency operations centre personnel.
This document coordinates communications from Niagara Region departments, agencies and boards to media outlets, Niagara Region employees, businesses and residents to deliver information before a pending emergency (if possible), during or after a disaster or emergency.
This includes the release of appropriate and factual information to the media and to the public, issuing directives to the public, responding to requests for information, and monitoring media outlets and other sources of information. Methods of internal communications with Niagara Region and local area municipal staff are also outlined.
In the event of a major emergency requiring a response from Niagara municipalities and Niagara Region, communications will be coordinated with these entities through Niagara Region and municipal information officers.
This document outlines the procedures involved in the activation and operation of the emergency operations centre facility. This includes details on the facility location, setup, guiding principles, managing information and resources, and roles and responsibilities for functions within the Incident Management System. As a supplement to the plan, it provides information to enable emergency operation centre responders to fulfil their key responsibilities in managing an emergency situation.
The aim of the Regional Emergency Social Services Plan is to make provision for the efficient administration, coordination and implementation of the extraordinary arrangements and measures taken to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Niagara during any emergency once they are outside of immediate danger.
This response includes both Niagara Region staff and external support agencies that work to provide services including, but not limited to, shelter, food, clothing, emergency first aid, registration and inquiry, personal services and financial assistance.
The purpose of the HIRA is to identify the hazards, which have caused, or possess the potential to cause, disastrous situations by overwhelming response capabilities within the region of Niagara. This information assists Niagara Region in preparing for more effective emergency responses and operations.
The planning phase will seek to mitigate the effects of a hazard, to prepare for response measures, and to ensure the safety of our citizens, preserve life and minimize damage.
This document serves as an operational guideline outlining the role of Niagara Region core departments and services and how these align with local municipalities during a local emergency incident.
Other annex's may be developed and attached to the Niagara Region Emergency Management Plan as they are required and developed.
In 2006, the province of Ontario passed the Clean Water Act, a key part of this legislation was the preparation of locally developed Source Protection Plans. A Source Protection Plan identifies potential significant threats to municipal drinking water, and sets out policies to protect against these threats.
The Niagara Peninsula Source Protection Plan includes policies regarding emergency response plans. Some of these emergency response plan policies are directed to municipal bodies to prevent fuel related threats from negatively impacting water treatment plants along the Welland Canal.
The Niagara Region Emergency Management Plan will be maintained and distributed by the community emergency management coordinator to the public via the Niagara Region public website.
The plan will be reviewed annually pursuant to the regulations under the Act and, where necessary, revised by the Emergency Management Program Committee. The review and recommended revisions will be coordinated by the community emergency management coordinator.
The plan shall be revised only by By-law of Council; however, revisions to the annexes and minor administrative or housekeeping changes may be made by the community emergency management coordinator.
It is the responsibility of each person, support agency, service or department identified within the plan to notify the community emergency management coordinator forthwith, of the need for any administrative changes or revisions to the plan or annexes.
The community emergency management coordinator is responsible for maintaining a current confidential contact list for emergency operation centre personnel and support agencies.
Each department and support agency should designate a member of its staff to review, revise and maintain its own functional emergency response procedures or guidelines on a periodic basis and ensure they align with the plan.
Pursuant to the regulations under the Act, at minimum, one exercise will be organized and conducted annually by the community emergency management coordinator in order to test the overall effectiveness of the Niagara Region Emergency Management Plan.
Recommendations arising from the annual exercise shall be considered by the community emergency management coordinator and Emergency Management Program Committee for revisions to the Niagara Region Emergency Management Plan.
Copies of the Niagara Region Emergency Management Plan will be provided to emergency operations centre personnel, local area municipalities, support agencies, the province of Ontario, and bordering municipalities and regions that may have a role to play in responding to or providing assistance for emergencies in Niagara.