Forewarned and Forearmed: City of Calgary Response to 2013 Flood

Jul 02, 2014, 18:41 ET from Conference Board of Canada

City's response and recovery efforts reveal best practices

OTTAWA, July 2, 2014 /CNW/ - Emergency Preparedness, training, working with media, and a comprehensive response and recovery model all contributed to the City of Calgary's effective management of its 2013 flood response, according to a new report released today by the Conference Board of Canada. It also outlines best practices and recommendations - which may assist other jurisdictions in their own crisis planning.

The report, Forewarned and Forearmed: The Calgary Emergency Management Agency and the 2013 Flood, was conducted for the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) as an independent review of the city's overall performance during the city's historic flood of June 2013.

"Not only do our findings reveal the city was well-prepared to deal with the devastating flood, our research uncovered many best practices and ideas for building resilience that may be helpful to jurisdictions across this country and beyond," said Dr. Satyamoorthy Kabilan, Director, National Security and Strategic Foresight, The Conference Board of Canada.

The report centered around several key themes including the CEMA Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and the Incident Command System, crisis communications, social media, volunteerism, and preparedness and resilience. Evaluations were made by comparing responses to similar events such as Hurricane Katrina, reviewing recommendations made in the City of Calgary's 2005 flood report and comparing them to the 2013 flood response, and interviewing 40 officials from the public, private and non-governmental sectors who played a role in the response and recovery efforts.

Eight best practices used by the City of Calgary are identified including:

  • building a strong Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) capacity
  • having strong ties between the media and the EOC
  • starting recovery planning immediately
  • quickly repatriating evacuees and enabling their self-recovery
  • collaborating with grassroots organizations and innovative teams
  • having a common long-term objective and strong outcome-oriented leadership
  • committing to training and exercising
  • continuing investing in preparedness


Recommendations for the future include improving the flow of information in terms of municipal and provincial crisis responsibilities, and with the private sector in terms of available resources. The prioritization of the mental health and well-being of EOC officials and first responders is also highlighted. The report further recommends that CEMA and The City of Calgary focus on private sector preparedness and the development of a comprehensive volunteer framework.

The June 2013 flood was the most devastating natural disaster in the city's history.

SOURCE Conference Board of Canada