Public perception often places government at the core of emergency management and planning. And while this is largely true, it doesn’t necessarily represent the full picture of emergency preparedness in Canada. With wildfire season upon us, it’s time to break down the responsibilities of emergency management - your business included.

Emergency management responsibilities are shared by local and provincial governments, First Nations, critical infrastructure, businesses and individual citizens. All of these stakeholders are responsible to prepare for disasters and contribute to community resiliency - no exceptions.

However, a large portion of the responsibility falls on business owners—including owners of critical infrastructure. The good news is,  engaged emergency planners across the country are working hard to ensure their organization’s preparedness is achieved and maintained.

Emergencies can have a significant and even catastrophic (excuse the pun) impact on a business’ bottom line. Being prepared involves developing, regularly updating, and training on both your emergency plan and the business continuity plan. It’s crucial to your ability to continue providing service, reducing financial impacts and mitigating reputational damage after an emergency event occurs.

At CCEM Strategies, we work regularly with government, critical infrastructure and business owners to create comprehensive and effective plans. Although in the summer, wildfires are often the focus, the reality is, organizations face a slew of possible emergencies—natural disasters are just one. Other scenarios include equipment failures, security threats, or IT incidents that could damage infrastructure or compromise data. Our team partners with clients to develop and implement a tailored approach, ensuring preparedness for operational continuity during and after any type of emergency.

By definition, critical infrastructure is just that - critical to the adequate functioning of society, which is a heavy load for a business to carry. And even for those businesses not classified as critical infrastructure, the responsibility to adequately prepare for an emergency is significant. The first step is to know potential hazards and impacts and the actions to make safe.  Secondly, to acquire resources and strategies to support the continuity of business. And the third critical step is to prepare by updating or creating  plans which document the associated systems available to manage emergencies. An additional step, and one often missed, is the training of your people, and exercising your plan to ensure it’s functional and provides guidance to address the challenges presented, should an emergency occur. It’s an eventuality no one wants, but, prepare we must.  

Additional Emergency Preparedness Resource - Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan