The City’s Emergency Preparedness and Protective Services Committee met this week where members received the results of the after-action review of the City’s response to the May 2022 derecho storm. The review assessed what worked well in terms of the City’s emergency preparedness, response and communications, along with potential areas for improvement. Although many organizations contributed to the storm response, the review focused on the City’s actions and its role in managing emergencies.
While the impacts of the sudden historic storm were severe, the City conducted a well-coordinated response. The review found that the City:
- Has a comprehensive emergency management program that provided a strong, guiding framework for responding in the aftermath of the storm
- Has staff with the knowledge and skills to support both the emergency operations centre and frontline operations
- Mobilized quickly and efficiently, and secured additional support early on
- Focused on helping residents in need and providing community supports
- Used a range of communications to provide timely and accurate information to residents
- Quickly engaged with hydro agencies and telecommunications providers to understand challenges and coordinate recovery activities
The review recommends some areas for improvement, including that the City:
- Continue to build greater depth in its capacity to staff crucial roles
- Enhance public education and awareness of emergency preparedness at the individual and community levels
- Develop formal response protocols for key supports, including food security, wellness visits and volunteer management
- Build a formal network of external partners to enhance collaboration before, during and after an emergency
- Seek additional ways to communicate effectively with the public during prolonged power outages
Staff will address all recommendations and report back to this committee on progress through the Public Safety Service annual report.