The Hospital & Health Care sector, by the very nature of its business operation, is particularly susceptible to risk from internal and external factors. Therefore, it has long recognized the need for effective and robust emergency management planning. Emphasizing the resiliency of Hospital & Health Care facility operations Emergency Management plans also support ongoing health & safety initiatives, and provide for a rturn on investment in the reduction of operational down time.

Embracing the application of internationally accepted Emergency Management principles the program objectives are aimed at ensuring the safety of employees and guests; mitigating or eliminating their exposure to risk; and providing employees with the tools to be able to effectively respond to and provide support to patients, staff, visitors and tenants, and arriving emergency services; and to timely and effectively recover from emergencies.

Let’s use the language of the C Suite !  Operational disruptions that impact public safety and/or prevent a Hospital & Health Care centre from serving their customers are costly to the business and its reputation – seriously impacting the bottom line.

Comprehensive Emergency Management plans are a proven and well recognized method to provide a standardized approach to emergency response, mitigation, and operational recovery. Hospital & Health Care  Emergency Management programs provide support not only to facility first responders and arriving emergency services; they also provide strategic guidance for senior executives in how to approach crisis management, business continuity, and reputational risk management.

A successful Emergency Management program in a Hospital & Health Care  environment demands foresight and imagination from all levels of the organization, facility operations, starting at the front line all the way up to senior management, and include front line, support and at times, contractors.

In addition, consultation with industry experts in preparation of Emergency Management plans adds invaluable insight into current industry best practices and enhances the overall risk/harm reduction effort, which should be the main focus of the plan. Consultants have a unique opportunity to learn from challenges and experiences, often garnered from around the world.  That experience is powerful and should be used on an ongoing basis.

The implementation of an Emergency Management plan is equally important and requires buy-in from all levels of facility operations, and a strong commitment from senior management in order to be effective. An effective Emergency Management plan empowers front line staff and managers with the tools and the confidence to effectively mitigate, and often eliminate minor crises before they grow into larger ones, and to prevent significant crises situations from completely crippling the continuity of business operations.

Tactical Fire Safety Plans: Innovative Best Practice

Fire Safety Plans are one of the most basic tools within a robust Emergency Management plan.  They are also a legislated requirement under National and Provincial Fire Codes.  Well written plans provide a framework for occupant safety and contain detailed instructions to building occupants in the event of a fire, including evacuation procedures & shelter in place; and they spell out supervisory staff responsibilities, including procedures for custodial staff and trades. However, Fire Safety Plans are only as effective as the information they contain. Unfortunately, many Hospital & Health Care facility Fire Safety Plans are found to be out of date and lacking vital information about the facility’s critical infrastructure and resources. Fire Codes require updates and reviews of Fire Safety Plans to be conducted at minimum annually, and to be approved by local fire services. Non-compliance may expose Health Care facilities to unwanted legal action for regulatory infractions, and civil liabilities risk in the event of fire emergencies or other unmitigated disasters resulting in property damage, loss of life or serious injury.

Detailed and current information contained within a Fire Safety Plan will assist responding fire services in formulating a response that may save lives and property. Additionally, in cases of major incidents apart from fire emergencies, these plans may provide invaluable assistance to responding police services requiring technical information in support of an effective tactical response.

An implementation of a “best practice” in a Health Care Facility Emergency Management program is the inclusion of tactical information into the Fire Safety Plan for use by arriving police services.

For example, a police service Incident Commander may utilize technical drawings found within a Fire Safety Plan to assist in the formulation of a tactical response during an incident involving the investigation of a bomb threat, suspicious package, an improvised explosive device, an armed and barricaded person, and in the most extreme cases an active shooter. In addition, fire alarm, sprinkler system isolation, electrical and HVAC system isolation procedures are available to incident commanders through the Fire Safety Plan. This information may be of critical importance during emergencies, as has been documented during actual post incident reviews in the recent past. An inventory of these infrastructure systems should be documented in detail and made available for use by arriving emergency services.

An important lesson learned in a post-incident review of an active shooter incident from a not too distant past revealed that it may be vitally important for responding police services to have readily available instructions on the operation of the fire alarm. An activated fire alarm continued to signal throughout a police response to an active shooter incident making effective tactical communications difficult. Effective communication during the deployment of police resources in a rapidly changing emergency situation where a timely response is of critical importance in the preservation of life cannot be overstated. With these instructions now available within the fire plan, we have provided additional tactical tools for the arriving emergency services.    A lesson learned has been shared, and is now a best practice for Health Care facilities.

Jason Reid, National Life Safety Group

Back in my high school days, when playing sports, I was always the last to be picked by the team captains. They made fun of me because I was the smallest guy in the class. They nicknamed me Bigal to rub it in. Sometime they even argued not to have me on their team. “You take him…No you take him.”

Maybe I should be thankful for this as I learned quickly to find excuses to skip Phys Ed and go to the library to read books on my favorite subjects. It helped boost my IQ a bit and I learned a lot about many topics. I later concentrated on physical activities that didn’t involve teams, like racquetball. I overcame most of the rejection later in life when I started playing with friends and I accepted that I wasn’t going to be a star player. I played hockey, volleyball, and baseball just for fun with nobody expecting me to hit homeruns, so I had fun. I changed my approach to sports and it worked for me.

I think emergency management is like that kid; always last to be picked. Governments pick the big guys like health and education first. They get the bigger piece of the pie when it comes to budgets and resources. At the local level it’s usually roads and transit that come first. When concerns for safety and security come up, it’s all about police and fire, sometimes paramedics.

It’s like the line I used to dread so much. The two team captains would have us lined up and as kids got picked they would go stand beside the captain until there was no more line but only a single unwanted player left; me. In government, once all the divisions have been picked and allotted resources, emergency management stands alone at the wall; waiting.

Since emergency management in Ontario is mandatory, in many cases particularly in small communities, council turns to the fire chief. “You take it.” The fire chief doesn’t want it but ends up being forced to take emergency management within his/her portfolio. Usually, no additional budget is allotted for it.

In larger municipalities where there is a person, or even if you are lucky, there is a group of people doing emergency management, budgets and resources are still very limited and often the first to get cuts when there is a need to “improve efficiency”.

So what can we do about it?

We could give up, like I did in high school, and find something else to do. We could yell and scream to get more attention. We have done a bit of that at times but those have had limited results. We could wish for more disasters that would give us the opportunities to show what we are capable of; but although the rush of adrenaline that goes with responding to emergencies is exciting, I don’t relish the thought of people suffering, so that is not my wish.

We could actually accept the reality. That is our fate. Emergency management will never beat health and education. We will never get the attention that police and fire get. We will never have the types of budgets that roads and transit get.

Once we have made peace with this, we can look for creative approaches. Racquetball was a lot more fun to me than dodgeball because I played with a friend and nobody had to pick me. I didn’t care if I lost most of my games because my friend still wanted to play with me; especially if he knew his chances of winning were high.

That’s what happened when I created the Lighthouse program in Brampton. I have the responsibility for the safety of over 600,000 citizens in terms of large-scale emergencies. I have a small –although extremely competent– team to help me fulfill my mandate. I have very limited budgets that have actually shrunk by 20% since I started in 1999. So how can I do my job? I turn to existing resources in the community that I can tap into without requiring additional budgets.

The Lighthouse program aims at bringing the faith-based organizations (FBOs) as participants to the emergency management and disaster relief mission of the city. The 2011 census demonstrated that almost 90% of the citizens identified themselves as affiliated to a faith-based organization. They may not go to church every Sunday or attend the local temple weekly, but they know where it is, they have a connection to it and if they are made aware that the local place of worship will be a refuge for them in case of disaster, they will definitely go there.

When we approached the faith based community on this concept, the response was overwhelmingly favorable. Almost every FBO said that this fits directly with their own mission of being there to help people in difficult situations. Most of them admitted that people are more likely to turn to religion when faced with a challenge than when the sun is shining on them. So never better to be there for the community than when a disaster strikes.

We currently have eight FBOs ready to sign on with the City as soon as our legal document is finalized and another 12 that have given preliminary demonstration of interest. We have started working on a train the trainer program so we can select a few people from each of these FBOs to be the main contacts and the ones to train the volunteers who will participate in the program. We created a logo and have a preliminary marketing plan that relies mostly on church bulletins and web sites, as well as word of mouth amongst the congregations.

I’ve now increased my team at least 100fold by accessing volunteers and organizations that will share my mandate to protect our citizens in times of disaster. I will never get that level of staff from municipal budgets.

I accepted that we will be the last picked every time. It doesn’t mean that I gave up. I am no longer hiding in the library. I’m out there playing the game. I just found new people to play with.

Alain Normand



A Top Public Awareness Campaign:

Do1Thing has grown into a national program in the United States, that has helped countless community members prepare for emergencies and disasters. It has been recognized by the International Association of Emergency Managers as a top Public Awareness Campaign, and has a simple message: everyone can become prepared, using small steps each month.

From Awareness, to Intention, to Action; Do 1 Thing is a call to action.

This approach departs from our traditional ’72-hour preparedness’ message, and has succeeded in creating popular, effective messages where many emergency managers have previously fallen flat in their social media and awareness campaigns.

While we have seen some great action-focused social media campaigns for emergency preparedness from organizations across Canada, including Public Safety Canada’s flood ready program and the Toronto Hydro ‘Be Prepared’ Campaign (among others) Do1Thing has perfected the act of making preparedness accessible for everyone, including those with very few resources, disabilities, language barriers (all materials are now available in 7 languages!), and people who have trouble using traditional sources.

Critically, Do1Thing also allows the materials to be used and branded by any organization wishing to use them for their own campaigns. This is a phenomenal resource for an emergency management agency!

Here are two examples of Do1Thing social media posts:









Your Call to Action:

So why highlight the good work of Do1Thing? Well, in addition to the incredible, simple, materials and the special focus of the organization on accessible preparedness messaging, they are constantly growing and improving their reach and message.

The Ontario Association of Emergency Managers is teaming up with Do1Thing to achieve a number of exciting new initiatives:

  • ‘Canadian conversion’ of Do1Thing materials: This includes removing references to FEMA, as well as correcting American spelling and terminology.
  • French translations: We are hoping to ensure that the materials are all translated into our other official language, so all Canadians can benefit from the materials.

This will mean the materials can be utilized in Canadian Emergency preparedness campaigns, or the basis for home-grown education materials – which as we know is a key requirement of all municipal Emergency Management programs in Ontario.

To this end, we are seeking a team of editors to convert the material for a Canadian audience, for use by our EM community.

Interested? let me know at

All you need is:

  • an email address
  • the ability to open and edit a Microsoft word document
  • A few hours between March 20-April 20 to help proof read and edit documents
  • (not required but highly useful) Fluency in reading and writing French

I’ll be setting up an online collaboration space to edit the materials in the next weeks.

Celebrating Leadership, Innovation and Achievement in the Ontario Emergency Management Community

The Ontario Association of Emergency Managers (OAEM) invites you to nominate individuals to receive one of two Professional Community Recognition Awards for Leadership, Innovation & Achievement in Emergency Management.

OAEM will recognize and promote the outstanding contributions and talents of all finalists on our web and social media, and winners will be determined by public vote.

Recipients in two categories will have shown extraordinary contributions and efforts to advance the profession of Emergency Management.


Each will meet specific criteria for one of two awards:

Rising Star Award

This category recognizes emerging early-career professionals with up to 7 years of experience in the Emergency Management profession. Nominees demonstrate significant achievement and early success in their career, as well as a strong commitment to the advancement of Emergency Management.

Community Impact Award

This category celebrates those who have demonstrated dedication in service to the field of Emergency Management over the course of their career, along with an exceptional level of leadership, innovation, and achievement. Their contributions will have resulted in significant advancement of the profession, and made a real difference to people’s lives.

Finalists with the highest number of public votes will be declared the winner of the 2017 Professional Community Recognition awards. All finalists will be recognized, and winners announced, at the OAEM Conference & Annual General Meeting taking place on Friday May 11-12, 2017.

Please note: This program is in addition to our ongoing student awards, which provide students in post-secondary certificate, diploma, degree or master programs in emergency management with bursaries towards their education – the deadline for student award applications is Wednesday April 5th, 2017.

Award Honours

All Finalists will receive:

  • Recognition on social media and web platforms, including a profile on the voting page

Award winners will receive:

  • Recognition on social media and web platforms
  • Recognition at the OAEM Conference & AGM
  • An engraved award recognition plaque


March 13 Launch of Professional Community Recognition Awards.
March 13 – April 7 Nominations accepted from the Emergency Management community
April 8 – April 16 Judges evaluate nominations and choose finalists.
April 17 – May 9 Public voting open
May 11 Winners announced at the OAEM Conference Social

Nomination Eligibility:

Nominees can be Emergency Management professionals in any field including healthcare, the private sector, the voluntary sector, public safety, education, and government. An individual does not have to be an OAEM member to receive a nomination but must be a member of, or have contributed significantly to, the Ontario Emergency Management Community.

Nominations must be submitted or sponsored by an OAEM member (a member can be an individual or an organization).


Judges will consist of OAEM board members.  Judges must declare any potential conflict of interest which could influence their neutrality or ability to determine finalists, and may not nominate individuals for consideration of this award.

Judges will consider a number of key characteristics when determining the finalists:


  • inspires, guides, and maximizes the efforts of others in Emergency Management


  • has engaged people and partners in developing opportunities for innovation
  • has generated or re-imagined an idea or concept, to improve a service, or address an unanswered need or challenge


  • passionate about Emergency Management
  • shares and promotes EM with others through writing, speaking or other means


  • goes above and beyond standard practice or expectations
  • overcomes challenges or resistance


  • Promotes and advances the mission and vision of EM
  • champions EM within his/her organization or sphere of influence


  • models professionalism and integrity and instills a desire for others to emulate
  • works to support those entering the profession, and encourages others to reach their potential

Voting (goes live April 17 – May 9)

Anyone can vote! Simply access the voting page at and submit your choice. Stay tuned for the page link!

Please note: Only one entry per IP address will be accepted. While we encourage everyone to participate, voting from locations with networks will only accept the first submitted vote. Therefore, we encourage you to vote from your home location or other non-networked computers.


Just because the teacher taught, doesn’t mean the learner learned, is an aphorism from education.  Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em…tell ‘em…then tell ‘em what you told ‘em is a catchy phrase we’ve all heard.

I add that it’s the communicator’s responsibility to be understood, not the recipient’s responsibility to understand.

Successful communication is very, very difficult.  Just ask your loved ones.  We miscommunicate all the time.  Why is it most of us think that we’ll have success in communication when we put on a business suit or uniform and go to work?  I’d say the safe bet is that there’s more miscommunication at work, in part because not all the people there are family and love you.

So what should be done?

Cities need a clear and firm policy on who gets to speak when and about what.  This won’t just be the Public Information Officer or other designated communicator.  The military say that everyone gets promoted one rank in time of war.  The PIO will have a dozen other tasks in addition to public communication.  S/he’ll need back up and now’s the time to designate and train the back up.

Next, spokespeople need something to say.  Now is the time to codify what will be said.  We won’t need a press release stating the obvious—it’s snowing, raining, flooding, or the power’s out.  Journalists don’t report the obvious and the public will think you’re talking down to them.  What’s needed is what’s new and not obvious.  Citizens need reassurance, advice on what to do, where to go, how to get the necessities of life, and so on.  Secondarily, many will be interested in what responders are doing to help.

Leave predictions mentalists.  Under promise, or don’t promise at all.  Then over-perform.

The recipient of messages is the one who gets to decide if communication has happened, not the sender.  If a recipient didn’t tune in to radio or TV, the message sent on radio and TV was not a message—it didn’t exist.  The same is true for those who don’t buy or read newspapers.

As for putting a message on a Twitter feed, webpage, YouTube or other social media—that’s sending and not necessarily receiving. Webpages are often lobster traps with navigation a mystery.  Lots of people don’t follow Twitter or can’t search it.  Few citizens will search for a video they don’t know the name of or even whether it exists.

This is why many cities also use loud speakers, digital signs on trucks, portable signs, door knob hangers and political-style lawn signs.  There are experiments with reverse 911 calls to segmented locations (pubs, hotels, homes, etc.), bed shakers and strobe lights for the deaf, radios which can be turned on by emergency officials and more.

It’s worth experimenting in your community to see what messages you can send successfully.


Your Association

OAEM has transformed dramatically in the last few years. We developed our world class website that received over five thousand views last month. We are very active on multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter and we are now live streaming events on YouTube! Our student membership has grown dramatically and we are working to help new grads break into our growing profession with our Next Gen initiative.  Our conference / AGM has doubled in attendance and our membership has increased after a retirement-driven drop in numbers.

Our dynamic and hard working board has been the driving force behind these changes and I am very proud of them. All of our board members have a post-secondary education in emergency management or a professional certification, sixty percent are female, half are non-municipal professionals and seventy percent are under 35, or at least claim to be. The board has also received incredible administrative support and advice from our professional management company.

But with all this change comes important questions…. Are we looking after our long-term members? Are we becoming Toronto-centric? The answer is in our slogan: We are the home of Ontario’s emergency management community. While 70% of our members live within an hour of the GTA and the bulk of our student members are in Toronto, we are determined to keep the O in OAEM. Last year we hosted a series of very successful professional development events in the east (Kingston), the west (London), central (Brampton) and the north (ish) (North Bay) and this year we are hoping to build on that and we really want to grow in Ottawa and push our events even further north. The main requirement for our partner communities who host our larger PD events is that we can attract enough participants to make them feasible, but it is our ultimate goal to support ANY Ontario community, organization or individual willing to organize and host an emergency management event where OAEM members are welcome. By support I mean that we can help source speakers, promote events, and provide financial support (within reason) for anyone that has a vision and a plan. So if you have an idea for a half-day or full-day event that you would like to host you should contact us. The board is here to support you, but this is your association and you can shape its future with your contribution.

Finally, I do hope to see you all at our conference in Burlington on 11 /12 May. We have a fantastic line up of speakers. The AGM will follow the conference and it is free for members.

Mike O’Brien


Thank you to everyone who attended the Emergency Management Trivia Night!

We were joined by professional host, ‘Trivia Guy’ Gaby Tabak for trivia crafted by members of your EM community.

Teams went head to head to solve questions, guess disaster tunes, recall mentions of Emergency Management in pop culture and history, and recalled all those things they learned in school and thought they’d never use again.

All participants received the following with their ticket:

  • Drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)
  • Appetizers
  • Raffle prize entry
  • Unlimited fun
  • Prizes for trivia champions!




Thank you also to our food and beverage sponsor: 

Get Ready Online (GRO) created an innovative app – ATLAS-Leading The Way® – to integrate Emergency Management, Business Continuity, and Infectious Disease Outbreak. Our app provides immediate situational awareness, rapid decision making, procedural checklists for all levels of staff, LMS, while ensuring industry compliance. GRO answers the question “What am I supposed to do?”


Registration is now open for our conference and annual general meeting.

We have a diverse list of speakers and subject matter experts lined up from the public sector, private sector, NGOs and more.

May 11 & 12, 2017 – Burlington, ON

Keynote Speakers:

  • Stephanie Durand -Public Safety Canada/Government of Canada
  • Michael J. Morton -Director, Emergency Management, Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management


  • Fort McMurray Wildfire,Jean-Pierre Taschereau – Director, Emergency Operations, Canadian Red Cross
  • Fort McMurray Wildfire Recovery, Marc Forais – Chief of Staff, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Recovery Task Force
  • Ottawa Sinkhole Event, Jim Montgomery – Deputy Chief, Emergency Management, City of Ottawa
  •, Morgan O’Neill – Co-Founder, Recovers
  • Mississauga Explosion, Ivana Di Millo – Director, Communications, City of Mississauga

Full Conference Agenda

Pricing options are as follows:
– Students $80
– Member and Partner Organizations $90
– Non-Member $120

For questions, please contact:


The Ontario Association of Emergency Managers (OAEM) provides students in post-secondary certificate, diploma, degree or master programs in emergency management with the opportunity to receive an award to recognize their achievements during each academic year.

Awards are available in the following categories:

  1. The Brian Hook Memorial Award which honours the memory of Major Brian Hook (CD) through making an award to a student who has made significant contributions to the field of Emergency Management while maintaining a high level of academic excellence. ($1,500)
  2. A. Normand Academic Award – Students will submit a 1,200 – 1,500 word essay on any topic relating to emergency management and business continuity. All essays must include an abstract and APA formatting. ($1,000)
  3. President’s Award – This award will go to a professional who has gone back to school to study emergency management/business continuity in order to upgrade/change their profession. This will be based on their grade point average (GPA) and any contributions they have made to the field. ($500)

OAEM Awards Application 2016-2017

The deadline for applications is Wednesday April 5th, 2017, and the award presentations will be made at the Ontario Association of Emergency Manager’s Conference and Annual General Meeting on May 11th/12th, 2017 at the DeGroote School of Business in Burlington, ON. Completed application forms should be sent by email before the deadline to All applications are reviewed by the OAEM Board of Directors and the OAEM Awards Committee, who will then decide on the award winners.

We look forward to receiving applications for these prestigious and well-respected awards. If you have any questions about the awards, please email Good luck!

Members of the OAEM:

F.A.S.T. First Aid & Survival Technologies Limited (F.A.S.T. Limited) is pleased to be a Bronze Member of the Ontario Association of Emergency Managers.

F.A.S.T. Limited is a Canadian manufacturer and supplier of emergency management support products for the public and private sector and has been in business since 1988. Our products were developed to meet the specific criteria of each of our clients.



  • Incident Management Color-Coded Vests:Features slide-in removable cards identifying designated roles, color-coded carry bags, hygiene kits and sleep center kits.
  • Roles and Responsibility Card Holder:Holds the emergency plan under the 8.5 x 11” incident management titles. 
  • A.S.T. Tracking System:Portable and organized tracking system with attachable card holders used to monitor resources including personnel, equipment, logistics etc.
  • Emergency Cabinets:Emergency supply cabinet for office and/or emergency operations center complete with modules for light search & rescue, food/water/survival support and emergency first aid.
  • Employee Offer Program:A convenient system for employees to order emergency home kits for their families.
  • Emergency Social Service Reception Center Support Products: Designated signage and items used to organize reception center.
  • Hospital Mass Casualty Incident Management Support Products: System designed to assist hospitals with color-coded vests and a user-friendly triage system
  • Hazmat Identification Vests: Color-coded vests with specific identification for HAZMAT response structured under the incident management and unified command.

I look forward to working with you all on your incident management support product needs.


 Ingrid Mravunac

Account Manager   604.940.3222

F.A.S.T. First Aid & Survival Technologies Limited
8850 River Road, Delta BC, V4G 1B5
Toll Free: 1.888.710.3278   Fax: 604.940.3221