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Civil Protection Planning in Québec

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Experience shows that no municipality is immune from disaster, hence the importance of planning emergency measures to face these situations. The objective of emergency preparedness planning is to lead to greater co-operation in the coordination of emergency measure plans. It is also aimed at preparing municipalities to take appropriate response actions to ensure the protection of people and properties before, during and after a disaster.

In Québec, during a disaster, municipalities must quickly mobilize their energies and ask for outside resources if this disaster is exceeding their response capacities.

Co-operation

Co-operation between municipalities, businesses and institutions on the same territory is fundamental. It facilitates the creation of better emergency measure plans and the coordination of these plans.

The Direction de la sécurité civile consequently encourages joint planning between municipalities, industries and the educational community. It also suggests that the municipal council, which is responsible for emergency preparedness planning, be comprised of responders involved in disaster response, citizens representing areas of activities at risk and, if necessary, experts.

Expertise

Municipalities are not left alone when the time for planning has come. Each regional direction of the Direction de la sécurité civile makes experienced advisors available to municipalities to help them in their planning efforts.

Municipalities can be advised on: 

  • the evaluation of their situation;
  • the development, implementation and assessment of their emergency plan;
  • the preparation of simulations aimed at validating their response plan.

In addition, the Branch is making tools available to municipalities that will help them be more autonomous in the evaluation of their situation and the planning of appropriate emergency measures.

Security in Educational Institutions

Educational institutions must have evacuation plans in the event of a fire or similar accidents in their buildings. Moreover, these institutions are not immune to disasters occurring outside their installations (natural disaster, accidents involving hazardous materials, etc.). The high concentration of population, especially youth, make these institutions particularly vulnerable.

Besides, within the first few hours of a disaster, municipalities often use educational institutions as shelters and service centres for disaster victims. Agreements for the use of school equipment during a disaster must be concluded. Emergency measure planning between municipalities and educational institutions is consequently required.

Industrial Security

Disasters are not limited to highly industrialized areas, because hazardous materials are transported through numerous municipalities.

In order to prevent such disasters, several parties involved (governments, industries, unions, etc.) gathered together voluntarily to create the Major Industrial Accidents Council of Canada (MIACC). The Council establishes standards, guidelines, tools and other mechanisms to prevent major industrial accident, to be prepared for them and to respond appropriately.

Besides, each regional emergency preparedness direction is invited by the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Faune, to comment on the projects it receives. These projects can also be analyzed by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement. This procedure is respectful of emergency preparedness planning, because it allows preventive actions by eliminating or reducing the risks of major industrial projects.

The Direction de la sécurité civile also make recommendations regarding regional planning since territory boundaries are illusive in emergency preparedness. Disasters are often caused by factors from more than one municipality, MRC or region. MRCs consequently submit to the Government land use maps, which usually deal with risk areas. Then, each regional security and prevention direction comments on the projects that will have consequences on land use.