Cypress County is no stranger to disasters and can attest to the importance of Emergency Management preparedness and a collaborative, resilient community. Given the ever changing emergency management environment, Council determined the need to develop a contemporary Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP) and Regional Emergency Management Plan (REMP) with the clear objective of addressing both natural and human-induced hazards and disasters as these are increasing in both frequency and severity across the world, resulting in ever growing human suffering and economic cost.
The ultimate purpose of emergency management is to save lives, reduce risk to people, property, environment and economy with the top priorities being the preservation of life and building community resilience. The MEMP clearly acknowledges that all citizens are involved in emergency management. Individual residents, communities, municipalities, each level of Government, first responders, private sector, volunteer and non-governmental organizations are critical partners. Solid partnership based on effective collaboration, coordination and communication are key components to sustainable emergency management plan and programs.
Resilience is the capacity of a system, community or society to adapt to disturbances resulting from hazards by persevering, recuperating or changing to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning. Resilient capacity is built through a process of empowering citizens, responders, organizations, communities, governments, systems and society to share the responsibility to keep hazards from becoming disasters.
The MEMP is designed to support the objectives of reducing risk and provides elected officials, municipal administration and other partner agencies a framework to prepare for likely events based on a current hazards, risk and vulnerability assessment and corresponding risk register. It further supports studying the risk register and strategically preparing realistic plans which include the necessary resources and essential equipment required to manage and/or mitigate in an efficient manner.
This MEMP is to be used as a tool to support emergency services and municipal responders and recovery activities. It is not a training manual nor is the plan designed to address all hazards, risks and community vulnerabilities. The plan is adaptable to a broad spectrum of emergency events and flexible in meeting the needs of a dynamic municipal organization and community. Public preparedness and participation in support of building community resilience requires ongoing effective communications and awareness campaigns. Routine training and exercising, relationship building with internal and external partners including Industry, the City of Medicine Hat and the Town of Redcliff is critical to the execution of this plan.
It is important to note that the success of any emergency management plan and corresponding programs is contingent on an understanding that risks, hazards and subsequent community vulnerability are real and are a part of day to day living. Our ability to respond and recover is dependent on the planning that goes into prevention, preparedness, mitigation/response and recovery between incidents of scale.
The MEMP will require ongoing review by internal and external stakeholders and where required revised. This is our commitment to building community resilience through a high level of preparedness. The plan will be used to guide and structure the Cypress County’s emergency management plans and programs which have been developed using best practices from communities across the Province of Alberta.
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