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Regional Emergency Management Plan

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is situated in the north eastern section of the province and encompasses 68,425.23 square kilometres making our region the second largest in Canada. It includes the urban centre of Fort McMurray and nine rural communities: Anzac, Conklin, Draper, Fort Chipewyan, Fort Fitzgerald, Fort McKay, Gregoire Lake Estates, Janvier, and Saprae Creek Estates.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is no stranger to disasters and can attest to the importance of emergency preparedness and collaborative resilient communities. Given the ever-changing emergency management environment, Council and Administration determined the need to develop a Regional Emergency Management Plan (REMP) inclusive of our urban and rural communities. The REMP is developed 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 REMP recognizes community-based emergency preparedness at a local level focusing on individual communities within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. This includes the creation and maintenance of customized local emergency response plans that are reflective of the explicit needs of each community. Hazard risk assessments will be conducted focusing on the uniqueness of the community’s specific area and demographics. Through community engagement each community will have ownership of their plan which will tie into the REMP.

The REMP 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 (NGOs) are critical partners. Solid partnerships based on effective collaboration, coordination and communication are key components to sustainable emergency management plan and programs.

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 REMP 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 risks. It further supports studying the risks and strategically preparing realistic plans which include the necessary resources and essential equipment required to manage and/or mitigate in an efficient manner.

The REMP 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 with regional communities. Public preparedness and participation in support of building community resilience requires ongoing effective communication and awareness campaigns. Routine training and exercising, relationship building with internal and external partners including Indigenous communities, the social profit sector, the small business sector and oil sands industry, is critical to the execution of this plan.

It is Council’s and Administration’s commitment to building community resilience through a high level of individual and collective preparedness. The REMP will be reviewed annually to ensure it reflects all the needs of our region.

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