The Clearwater Regional Emergency Management Agency (CREMA) is a partnership between Clearwater County, the Town of Rocky Mountain House, Village of Caroline and the Summer Village of Burnstick Lake.
CREMA will, through risk analysis, resource coordination, and education develop programs and plans that contribute: to the safeguarding of human life; to preventing undue suffering; and to hastening recovery relating to local disasters or major emergency events within Clearwater County.
Some functions of CREMA include: the development of training programs for regional emergency responders, provision of public awareness programs for the region, liaison with other emergency management agencies and development of practical emergency response plans and hazard mitigation programs.
Municipal Emergency Management Plan
Clearwater County has developed an emergency plan for use in large-scale emergencies or disasters. The plan is comprised of three distinct parts:
- Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA)
- Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP)
- Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Positions Checklist
The HVA document addresses many of the possible emergencies and disasters that may take place within the County. This allows for an assessment of what components should be developed. Based on the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency’s typologies, the HVA outlines the types of events that may occur, their frequencies, the primary and secondary outcomes and their impacts. The HVA also addresses mitigation strategies for these events and their impacts. The information compiled in this document leads to the development of the CEMP.
The CEMP provides guidance in mitigating, preparing for, responding to and recovering from an event within Clearwater County. Additionally, the CEMP offers a framework that guides response during an event not only for Clearwater County, but for other responding agencies as well.
The CEMP outlines roles of the differing agencies during an event and lists possible tasks and support agencies that may be utilized. Responders are able to use the CEMP to determine basic response functions and goals.
The final document is the EOC Positions Checklist. This document focuses on many of the positions that may be found in an activated EOC. It outlines basic position functions, reporting structures and ties each position back to relevant modules within the CEMP.
These three documents are linked and together form the overall plan, with is one part of the overall emergency management program. Clearwater County is currently undertaking an update of these documents.
Regional Emergency Decision Making Hierarchy
As part of its mandate, CREMA asked its member Councils to adopt a decision-making hierarchy for use when responding to an emergency or disaster. The Councils’ eight-step hierarchy, in order of highest to lowest priority, is:
- Providing for the safety and health of all responders
- Save lives
- Reduce suffering
- Protect public health
- Protect government infrastructure
- Protect property
- Protect the environment
- Reduce economic and social losses
- Responders to prioritize goals and assign limited resources during an event use this eight-step hierarchy. When responders must choose between different objectives, the higher objective on the list will be chosen.
The Councils of Clearwater County and the Village of Caroline chose to develop this hierarchy so that the debates associated with their development would not have to occur during an event when stress levels are high and time is of the essence. County and Village responders follow this hierarchy whenever they respond to an emergency or disaster.
As part of its ongoing functions, CREMA reviews this hierarchy with its member Councils shortly after each municipal election.
What is a State of Local Emergency?
A State of Local Emergency (SOLE) is a tool that may be used by municipalities (and other local authorities) to manage events. Under Alberta's Emergency Management Act (EMA) the municipality declares a SOLE when it is deemed that additional powers are required to respond to an event. During a declared State of Local Emergency, Alberta's Emergency Management Act bestows a number of extraordinary powers upon a municipality such as the ability to fix prices, conscript persons and equipment, enter property and buildings without a warrant and force evacuation as well as a host of other powers not normally within the scope of a municipality.
Many of the powers conveyed under the EMA can be achieved voluntarily without a SOLE. Declaration of a SOLE adds the ability for the local authority to force those actions. As an example, under a voluntary evacuation a person may refuse to leave the premises. Under a SOLE, a person may still refuse to leave a premises, however, the municipality has the right to forcibly remove the person from the premises without warrant or any other process should the municipality chose to do so.
The declaration of a State of Local Emergency is not required to qualify for Disaster Recovery Funding provided by other levels of government. Please note that in any instance, funding will not be provided for losses that were readily insurable.