Longueuil is responsible for managing civil protection throughout its territory and is subject to the Civil Protection Act (R.S.Q., c. S-2.3), aimed at protecting persons and property in case of emergency. Seeing as Longueuil is exposed to various risks, we are prepared to deal with them in a four-step process: prevention, preparation, intervention and return to normal.
Here is a definition of each stage making up the plan:
Prevention : All measures established on a permanent basis to eliminate risks, minimize the probability that they will occur and mitigate their potential effects.
Preparation : All activities and measures aimed at reinforcing disaster preparedness.
Intervention : All measures taken immediately prior to, during and immediately after a disaster to protect people, provide for their basic needs and safeguard property and the environment.
Return to normal : All decisions made and measures taken following a disaster to restore the community's social, economic, physical and environmental conditions and reduce future risks of disaster.
These four stages are contained in the municipal civil protection plan that Ville de Longueuil is required to develop and keep up to date.
Ville de Longueuil's municipal civil protection plan has 11 sections. The main sections deal with the following:
- Warning and mobilization system;
- Centre de coordination des mesures d'urgence (CCMU);
- Mission plans and risk management;
- Recovery and demobilization;
- Specific intervention plans.
Details on these different sections are provided below.
Warning and mobilization system
The warning and mobilization system is designed to alert and mobilize the members of the Organisation municipale de sécurité civile (OMSC) in case of an actual, anticipated or foreseeable major event. This section therefore contains the information needed to trigger the city's emergency measures and the conditions for mobilizing city resources. It also defines different warning levels. Consequently, resources are mobilized and actions are undertaken in direct connection with the disaster (anticipated, actual or actual and major).
Centre de coordination des mesures d'urgence (CCMU)
The Centre de coordination des mesures d'urgence (CCMU) is a central location that serves as a point of contact for members of the Organisation municipale de sécurité civile (OMSC).
This is where the emergency measures plan is implemented and where OMSC members work together to make all strategic decisions.
This is also where all information on the event is gathered, helping municipal authorities determine if any measures need to be implemented outside of the operational perimeter. These facts also allow them to support and complete any measures implemented within the operational perimeter.
It is also at the CCMU that the needs of the people in charge of the mission are anticipated. The people in charge are required to compile a report of the actions taken and plan the actions required in the event of an emergency.
What is a mission? A mission can be defined as the response to a foreseeable need during a disaster. Responsibility for each mission is assigned to the department whose normal activities are most similar to those planned for the mission, or to one whose expertise enables it to handle the mission.
In 2008, the Direction générale de la sécurité civile et de la sécurité incendie of the Ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec published Pour planifier la réponse au sinistre : Guide à l'intention des municipalités. The mandate of the person in charge of a mission is described in the following terms:
Prior to a disaster:
- Define the mission's responsibilities;
- Participate in civil protection planning;
- Organize the resources such as to ensure appropriate interventions in the event of a disaster (physical facilities, equipment, employees' tasks, procedures);
- Assess needs, distribute tasks, conduct simulation exercises, purchase equipment, organize training, negotiate service agreements, etc.; and
- Maintain relations with volunteers: inventory of needs, recruiting, information, integration, etc.
During a disaster:
- Coordinate the mission's resources;
- Provide support to the site coordinator;
- Keep the municipal coordinator informed of how the mission is unfolding;
- Liaise between the mission's resources, the municipal coordinator and the site coordinator; and
- Liaise between internal and external resources (public, private or volunteer).
After a disaster:
- Help the municipal coordinator to prepare the report for the municipal council; and
- Revise the emergency measures plan in accordance with the mission.
The overall organization of these missions is intended to ensure that services required by disaster victims, both citizens and employees, are locally provided. The responsibilities of the individuals and agencies involved are also defined, taking into account their capacity to respond to an emergency as part of a mission.
To adequately respond to the needs of disaster victims, Ville de Longueuil has implemented a total of 22 missions. A department is responsible for each of them.
Ville de Longueuil draws extensively from the risk management guide titled Gestion des risques en sécurité civile, produced by the Ministère de la Sécurité publique.
This guide, published in 2008 by the Ministère de la Sécurité publique, was in turn based on a model used by an increasing number of countries, agencies and communities. The relevance and effectiveness of the disaster risk management process inspired by this model have therefore been thoroughly tested.
This risk management process is based on a logical sequence that primarily consists of determining the applicable context, assessing the risks at hand and establishing actions intended to minimize those risks. This rigorous process is used to establish systematic risk management practices.
Recovery and demobilization
Recovery basically consists of implementing measures aimed at gradually bringing the disaster-stricken area back to normal conditions. This phase is deployed as soon as security conditions permit after the disaster.
Specific intervention plans (PPIs)
The Civilian Protection Act places certain obligations upon municipalities, including the development of a civil protection plan to cover anticipated and probable major disasters within its territory.
In order to more effectively prepare for managing anticipated or probable major disasters on its territory, Ville de Longueuil has developed several specific intervention plans (PPIs). A PPI is used to anticipate a specific risk and develop an intervention procedure prior to a disaster, so that the responders involved are able to intervene more rapidly when disaster does strike.