Municipal governments have a number of responsibilities, but chief among them is ensuring the safety of citizens, especially in emergency situations. On a day-to-day basis, emergency services have to deal with all sorts of scenarios -house fires, robberies, car accidents, and more.
But what happens when a natural disaster strikes or a crisis situation develops? In the past few months, a series of incidents have struck cities across Canada. From the floods in Calgary and Toronto to a number of train derailments in Quebec, Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan, emergency services have had their hands full dealing with these events in our normally uneventful country.
Of course, to deal with them effectively, first responders need the right information and tools, and it is up to the government to provide them. Moreover, governments must be proactive with their strategies – preventative measures can be implemented to stop hazards from turning into disasters, and action plans can be drafted so that governments will be prepared when disasters do inevitably occur.
It all starts with the effective use of information. Governments must be conscious of where they collect information, what they do with it, and who they share it with. Organization and collaboration is key – agencies must work together in the collection, analysis and distribution of information. This way, response to emergencies will be faster and resources can be deployed more efficiently to the parties that need them.
To do this, cities must embrace and invest in new technologies. Using sensors, for example, cities can collect data from weather trackers, precipitation meters, and traffic surveillance, giving them – and their citizens – advance warning when a crisis is on the horizon.
For more information on emergency management, visit our digital library, where we have a number of whitepapers available for download.