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Reflecting on CEMA's response to the 2013 flood

Working together during times of crisis Reflecting on CEMA's response to the 2013 flood

Ten years ago, rising water levels caused the Bow and Elbow Rivers to spill their banks, causing devastating flooding in Calgary and many areas of southern Alberta.

As the waters rushed towards Calgary, and a local state of emergency was declared, the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) quickly mobilized at the new Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), with the goal of keeping Calgarians safe and our essential services running.

While the 2013 flood had a devastating impact on our city, it also demonstrated the spirit of our community.  Thousands of individuals from across public and private sectors through our partner organizations worked tirelessly to provide critical support to Calgarians and maintain essential services.

The flood required extensive emergency response across with more than 80,000 people evacuated from 26 communities across our city.

Working together during times of crisis

Sue Henry, Chief – Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)

Putting people first: working together to support others


Since the 2013 flood, CEMA has continued to prepare for future emergencies by growing its network of partners, including the creation of the critical service provider group which came about as a result of the 2013 flood.

This group of more than 40 social support agencies work together to increase communication and coordination between the non-profit sector and The City during emergency response, playing a critical role in supporting some of Calgary’s most vulnerable populations.

The City works collaboratively with the non-profit sector to ensure these organizations can continue to provide service during emergencies and effectively respond and recover from crises impacting our city.

Preparing for future emergencies and disasters


The Calgary Emergency Management Agency has spent ten years since the flood developing short and long-term recovery strategies, strengthening its capacity to respond to floods through full scale exercises, enhancing flood emergency response plans, refining flood hazard maps and more.

With the support of agency members and community partners, CEMA is well prepared for floods and other emergencies in the future. 

Working together during times of crisis - CSP network

Robert Wiles, Issue Strategist/Non-profit Liaison

More information


See more information on Calgary's flood response and Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA).

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