Discussion Series: Deputy Fire Chief Mark Turik & CEMA Chief Sue Henry

Discussion Series: Deputy Fire Chief Mark Turik & CEMA Chief Sue Henry

 

April 2022 Discussion Series: Deputy Chief Mark Turik & CEMA Chief Sue Henry

Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)

Calgary Fire Department

1.    What is the responsibility of the Fire Chief? Of the CEMA Chief?

  • In charge of department, 42 fire halls.
  • Safety codes fire inspectors.
  • Fire investigators and training.
  • Health and Safety Division, Community Safety team. Wellness Division.
  •  Technology and Mapping Group. Information is critical - Get the right place at the right time.

2.    Chief Sue Henry can you tell us what is Calgary Municipal Emergency Plan?

Make sure the City of Calgary is prepared, able to respond and recover from disasters, in a coordinated fashion. Efficiently, and effectively.

60 different agency members: the City of Calgary business units, ATCO, Calgary Zoo, everybody that would be coordinated for a large event, headed in same direction, ready for what is to occur. Collaborating, relationship management - building with people ahead of time.

Partnership:

  • Public Safety Canada
  • Alberta Emergency Management

FLOOD 2013– Setting standard internationally. Using whole community approach, recognizing everybody has a role. Community is at an emergency first!

Emergency Preparation Materials: 2 Weeks water supply and back-up generator system.

What is the Municipal Emergency Plan?

Heard a lot about over last two years activated. Every agency coordinated under CEMA.

3.    How does the fire department and CEMA work together? What is the hand off between Fire and CEMA?

Fire first responder, see us every day, medical issues, fires, small floods, collapsed structures. Anything threatening people, property, or environment. Get involved with, mediate, or fix.

Formula, System, or Judgement Call.

CEMA judgement call. Resource challenge or anything out of the normal.

Struggling through any kind of emergency. Can activate naturally for assistance - something becoming large.

Power of the Emergency Operations Centre, instead of making several calls:

Fire, Police, Transit, etc. can stand up and a plan is formed.

Calgary has 15 high risk disasters. Complete mock exercises twice a year, every Spring and Fall. Disaster Risk Assessment by subject expert manager.

For each different event:

  • Impact
  • Probability
  • Socio Economic, Financial Challenges
  • Risk Outcome (i.e., Large-scale 4-5 alarm Fire)

Things to take into consideration:

  • Impact to community
  • Transit
  • Roads
  • Water
  • Unity, Leadership, Autonomy of Command
  • CEMA does not step in and take over but assist with anything that spills around the boundary of that incident.
  • Right people in the room at the right time.
  • Training, Experience, and Skill.

4.    What is the status of emergency preparedness in Calgary?

Unique report brought to members of emergency members of council, and ultimately to Council.

Snapshot of high-risk events, to have a conversation about mitigation, and residual risk after all the preparation and prevention has been brought in.

Also, an opportunity for council to see holistic view of other agencies

(i.e., Alberta Wildfire) Association)

5.    Some of our residents have inquired about the Ready Calgary program. Can you talk about what the program entails and how Calgarians can participate?

Wonderful CEMA program that recognizes aspect of how whole community can be ready for disasters. Grade 5 Ready Squad Member, Prepare 72 Hour Kit.

6.    How did the fire department get involved in the overdose Naloxone program?

Responding to opioid overdoses and administering Naloxone every day in The City of Calgary.

7.    What other partners do you work with?

Long list:

  • Constantly intertwined, water, parks, transit, roads, facility management, every city agency.
  • MADD
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • CEMA
  • ATCO
  • AHS
  • EMS
  • CPS
  • 911
  • Fire Training Academy, Fire Halls, and field testing in the community.
  • Response is based on partnerships.
  • 60 Agency Members.
  • Municipalities share resources back and forth. 
  • All levels of government.
  • UofC research for COVID-19
  • Chemical issues, synthetics, and high heat.
  • Glass, metal - now more plastics.
  • Including the homes, we live in, are now more toxic.

8.    What are some actions that Calgarians can take to help prevent an emergency or disaster? What should residents do to prepare them for a disaster?

  • Prevent (use objects properly)
  • Detect (change smoke detector batteries)
  • Evacuate (have a plan to get out and meet somewhere else)
  • Have a fire extinguisher
  •  Take a CPR Course
  •  Have a Naloxone Kit
  • Don’t hesitate to call 911 (sooner is better!)

If you see lights in your rear-view mirror while driving:

  1. Identify where coming from
  2. If you must move, please do. Stay still if you don’t.

Be deliberate and stay safe. Don’t push out into the intersection and get yourself hit. Stay still if you don’t know what you are doing.

CEMA takes the approach that citizens take the time to understand the risks of where they work and play.

Disaster Risk Explorer is an interactive, picture-based tool, associated to home risks.

(i.e., Spring gutters)

  • Make an escape plan.
  • Make a bigger plan - if you must be out of your house.
  •  Make a 72 Hour Kit for your house and car.
  • What every family need - is unique!

9.    How do parents talk to children regarding a fire plan while avoiding fear and anxiety?

Discuss in an interactive and non-threatening way. For very small children, play something, crawl on the floor, outside. Keep it simple. Tiny bit of training kicks in at the right time.

As kids get older - they remember it. Go through it to make sure they understand.

Come back and revisit it every year.

10. How do you help those affected by an emergency?

  • Resources available at time of incident.
  • Referral.
  • Partnership with Red Cross
  • After an Emergency Outreach.
  • Revisit one week after to answer questions and reassure.
  • When an event becomes larger, and it involves CEMA, they have a team called Emergency Social Services. 17 Critical Care providers trained to help. (i.e., mental health supports, social agencies, evacuation centre, financial support and recovery)
  • People can have trauma for years following an event.
  • Make people aware of what we do.

It’s very empowering to see so many people drop everything to fix whatever is happening and get Calgary back on its feet.

So much time, passion, and energy spent to keep Calgary as safe as possible!

11. Every summer I am afraid of Fire. Does the City of Calgary watches for hot spots in the summer?

We do not have someone specifically set up to look for hotspots. Depend on residents to call it in, then Fire will go in to deal with it. Please do not hesitate to call 911.

12. How would a fire on the Slopes at the North end of Spruce Cliff be managed / accessed -   - we see / smell evidence of open fires from those "rough sleeping" - this seems like a significant risk.

Feel for both residents and those rough sleeping. Ward 6 Fire Station 29 and Fire Station 8 would respond. Every fire station crew pre-plans areas:

  • How to get in there
  • What they would be doing
  • What equipment they will need
  • Dependent on the information they collect from when the call comes in.

 

Fire would call CEMA for support on a case-by-case need based on:

  • Number of people impacted
  • Communication needs

Several factors to consider:

  • Is the situation worsening, stabilizing, or improving
  • From when the incident occurs
  • Are resources becoming challenged

13. Governance and Political question of which department is in charge, and who makes the call? i.e. Flood 2013, who makes the call, whom is in charge – it was the Fire Chief.

At the time the Fire Chief was also the Director of Emergency Management.

CEMA and Fire were part of the same business unit.

Moved away from who is in charge, and whose legislation trumps.

We’ve learned those lessons through all the big events we’ve had in Calgary.

14. How does Calgary rank in terms of emergency readiness? Is there a national evaluator and review report?

We still have work to do. A national evaluator does not exist because each jurisdiction is so different in terms of risk, priorities, and predicting extreme weather.

Provincial Audit Report released 2020 is the only comparative for Calgary’s process Business Continuity Disaster Risk Assessment. Unfortunately, we cannot look across the country and see everything for each City.

Standards for Fire to measure Response Times. Mandate given by Council to respond to any address in the City within 7 minutes 90% of the time. Running around 84%, getting to emergencies.

Increase in call volume – we went from 60,000 calls to 70,000 calls in 2021.

Change in society right now where there are about 20% more house fires.

15. Do we need to create an awareness program? Is there an electrical problem because people are working from home more?

We have not fully analyzed it yet. Can’t quite pinpoint exactly the cause: people are home more, houses are built closer together, people are smoking more outside. With hobbies and extra work trying to do around your home, trying to save money, make sure you’re doing them in a safe manner.

We are in an interesting time right now, discussing returning to normal and returning to the office. We don’t know what the new normal will look like.

We are lucky in Calgary, there are a lot of supports in the City. 311 can help people know where to go and where to access them.

16. The City has declared a Climate Emergency, what has come down to CEMA, has protocol been defined?

Definition for Emergency is different under specific legislative powers. In terms of CEMA, we make sure we are ready for the changing climate we live in.

17. Are any Fire Halls led by women, and at what rank?

Fire: Yes, Captains, Lieutenants, and Deputy Chiefs.

CEMA: Yes, we are 60% female - very diverse and inclusive.

18. People often park in our driveway, or fire lane to use the off-leash dog park. Can I call the fire department to report the parker or Calgary Parking Authority?

The fire department does not respond or deal with any issues typically involving Calgary Parking Authority. Let them do their work – call Calgary Parking Authority or call 311 for mitigation before that happens.

19. Will there be a Disaster Alley this year?

Unfortunately, Disaster Alley is not going forward this year. Emergency preparation week starts next Sunday April 28, 2022.

 

1.    What is the responsibility of the Fire Chief? Of the CEMA Chief?

·         In charge of department, 42 fire halls.

·          Safety codes fire inspectors.

·         Fire investigators and training.

·         Health and Safety Division, Community Safety team. Wellness Division.

·         Technology and Mapping Group. Information is critical - Get the right place at the right time.

 

2.    Chief Sue Henry can you tell us what is Calgary Municipal Emergency Plan?

Make sure the City of Calgary is prepared, able to respond and recover from disasters, in a coordinated fashion. Efficiently, and effectively.

60 different agency members: the City of Calgary business units, ATCO, Calgary Zoo, everybody that would be coordinated for a large event, headed in same direction, ready for what is to occur. Collaborating, relationship management - building with people ahead of time.

Partnership:

-Public Safety Canada

-Alberta Emergency Management

 

FLOOD 2013– Setting standard internationally. Using whole community approach, recognizing everybody has a role. Community is at an emergency first!

Emergency Preparation Materials: 2 Weeks water supply and back-up generator system.

 

What is the Municipal Emergency Plan?

Heard a lot about over last two years activated. Every agency coordinated under CEMA.

 

3.    How does the fire department and CEMA work together?

What is the hand off between Fire and CEMA?

Fire first responder, see us every day, medical issues, fires, small floods, collapsed structures. Anything threatening people, property, or environment. Get involved with, mediate, or fix.

Formula, System, or Judgement Call.

CEMA judgement call. Resource challenge or anything out of the normal.

Struggling through any kind of emergency. Can activate naturally for assistance - something becoming large.

 

Power of the Emergency Operations Centre, instead of making several calls:

Fire, Police, Transit, etc. can stand up and a plan is formed.

 

Calgary has 15 high risk disasters. Complete mock exercises twice a year, every Spring and Fall. Disaster Risk Assessment by subject expert manager.

For each different event:

-Impact

-Probability

-Socio Economic, Financial Challenges

-Risk Outcome

(i.e., Large-scale 4-5 alarm Fire)

Things to take into consideration

-impact to community

-transit

-roads

-water

 

Unity, Leadership, Autonomy of Command

 

CEMA does not step in and take over but assist with anything that spills around the boundary of that incident.

 

Right people in the room at the right time.

 

Training, Experience, and Skill.

 

4.    What is the status of emergency preparedness in Calgary?

Unique report brought to members of emergency members of council, and ultimately to Council.

Snapshot of high-risk events, to have a conversation about mitigation, and residual risk after all the preparation and prevention has been brought in.

Also, an opportunity for council to see holistic view of other agencies

(i.e., Alberta Wildfire) Association)

 

5.    Some of our residents have inquired about the Ready Calgary program. Can you talk about what the program entails and how Calgarians can participate?

Wonderful CEMA program that recognizes aspect of how whole community can be ready for disasters. Grade 5 Ready Squad Member, Prepare 72 Hour Kit.

 

 

6.    How did the fire department get involved in the overdose Naloxone program?

Responding to opioid overdoses and administering Naloxone every day in The City of Calgary.

 

7.    What other partners do you work with?

Long list:

Constantly intertwined, water, parks, transit, roads, facility management, every city agency.

MADD

Ronald McDonald House

CEMA

ATCO

AHS

EMS

CPS

911

 

Fire Training Academy, Fire Halls, and field testing in the community.

 

Response is based on partnerships.

-60 Agency Members.

-Municipalities share resources back and forth. -All levels of government.

-UofC research for COVID-19

 

Chemical issues, synthetics, and high heat.

 

Glass, metal - now more plastics.

Including the homes, we live in, are now more toxic.

 

8.    What are some actions that Calgarians can take to help prevent an emergency or disaster? What should residents do to prepare them for a disaster?

·         Prevent (use objects properly)

·         Detect (change smoke detector batteries)

·         Evacuate (have a plan to get out and meet somewhere else)

·         Have a fire extinguisher

·         Take a CPR Course

·         Have a Naloxone Kit

·         Don’t hesitate to call 911 (sooner is better!)

 

If you see lights in your rear-view mirror while driving:

1) Identify where coming from

2) If you must move, please do. Stay still if you don’t.

 

 

Be deliberate and stay safe. Don’t push out into the intersection and get yourself hit. Stay still if you don’t know what you are doing.

 

CEMA takes the approach that citizens take the time to understand the risks of where they work and play.

Disaster Risk Explorer is an interactive, picture-based tool, associated to home risks.

(i.e., Spring gutters)

·         Make an escape plan.

·         Make a bigger plan - if you must be out of your house.

·         Make a 72 Hour Kit for your house and car.

·         What every family need - is unique!

 

9.    How do parents talk to children regarding a fire plan while avoiding fear and anxiety?

Discuss in an interactive and non-threatening way. For very small children, play something, crawl on the floor, outside. Keep it simple. Tiny bit of training kicks in at the right time.

As kids get older - they remember it. Go through it to make sure they understand.

Come back and revisit it every year.

 

10. How do you help those affected by an emergency?

Resources available at time of incident.

Referral.

Partnership with Red Cross

After an Emergency Outreach.

Revisit one week after to answer questions and reassure.

 

When an event becomes larger, and it involves CEMA, they have a team called Emergency Social Services. 17 Critical Care providers trained to help.

(i.e., mental health supports, social agencies, evacuation centre, financial support and recovery)

People can have trauma for years following an event.

Make people aware of what we do.

It’s very empowering to see so many people drop everything to fix whatever is happening and get Calgary back on its feet.

So much time, passion, and energy spent to keep Calgary as safe as possible!

 

11. Every summer I am afraid of Fire. Does the City of Calgary watches for hot spots in the summer?

We do not have someone specifically set up to look for hotspots. Depend on residents to call it in, then Fire will go in to deal with it. Please do not hesitate to call 911.

 

12. How would a fire on the Slopes at the North end of Spruce Cliff be managed / accessed -   - we see / smell evidence of open fires from those "rough sleeping" - this seems like a significant risk.

Feel for both residents and those rough sleeping. Ward 6 Fire Station 29 and Fire Station 8 would respond. Every fire station crew pre-plans areas:

·         how to get in there

·         what they would be doing

·         what equipment they will need

·         dependent on the information they collect from when the call comes in.

 

Fire would call CEMA for support on a case-by-case need based on:

·         number of people impacted

·         communication needs

Several factors to consider:

·         is the situation worsening, stabilizing, or improving

·         from when the incident occurs

·         are resources becoming challenged

 

13. Governance and Political question of which department is in charge, and who makes the call? i.e. Flood 2013, who makes the call, whom is in charge – it was the Fire Chief.

At the time the Fire Chief was also the Director of Emergency Management.

CEMA and Fire were part of the same business unit.

Moved away from who is in charge, and whose legislation trumps.

We’ve learned those lessons through all the big events we’ve had in Calgary.

 

14. How does Calgary rank in terms of emergency readiness? Is there a national evaluator and review report?

We still have work to do. A national evaluator does not exist because each jurisdiction is so different in terms of risk, priorities, and predicting extreme weather.

Provincial Audit Report released 2020 is the only comparative for Calgary’s process Business Continuity Disaster Risk Assessment. Unfortunately, we cannot look across the country and see everything for each City.

Standards for Fire to measure Response Times. Mandate given by Council to respond to any address in the City within 7 minutes 90% of the time. Running around 84%, getting to emergencies.

Increase in call volume – we went from 60,000 calls to 70,000 calls in 2021.

Change in society right now where there are about 20% more house fires.

 

15. Do we need to create an awareness program? Is there an electrical problem because people are working from home more?

We have not fully analyzed it yet. Can’t quite pinpoint exactly the cause: people are home more, houses are built closer together, people are smoking more outside. With hobbies and extra work trying to do around your home, trying to save money, make sure you’re doing them in a safe manner.

We are in an interesting time right now, discussing returning to normal and returning to the office. We don’t know what the new normal will look like.

We are lucky in Calgary, there are a lot of supports in the City. 311 can help people know where to go and where to access them.

 

16. The City has declared a Climate Emergency, what has come down to CEMA, has protocol been defined?

Definition for Emergency is different under specific legislative powers. In terms of CEMA, we make sure we are ready for the changing climate we live in.

 

17. Are any Fire Halls led by women, and at what rank?

Fire: Yes, Captains, Lieutenants, and Deputy Chiefs.

CEMA: Yes, we are 60% female - very diverse and inclusive.

 

People often park in our driveway, or fire lane to use the off-leash dog park. Can I call the fire department to report the parker or Calgary Parking Authority?

The fire department does not respond or deal with any issues typically involving Calgary Parking Authority. Let them do their work – call Calgary Parking Authority or call 311 for mitigation before that happens.

 

18. Will there be a Disaster Alley this year?

Unfortunately, Disaster Alley is not going forward this year. Emergency preparation week starts next Sunday April 28, 2022.

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Categories: CEMA, Calgary Emergency Management Agency, Discussion Series, Fire

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