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Conference Board of Canada seeks to improve emergency response

A new briefing by the Conference Board of Canada provides recommendations for improving the effectiveness of emergency responses to terrorism-related events.

August 17, 2017  By Staff

“Emergencies that result from acts of terrorism continue to evolve globally,” said Satyamoorthy Kabilan, director of National Security and Strategic Foresight with the Conference Board of Canada. “The attack in Ottawa on October 22, 2014, showed that Canada is not immune to this threat and there are areas, such as communication and effective partnerships, which need implementation. While these types of events have had a limited impact on Canada in the recent past, it is important to learn from them so that Canadian emergency response stakeholders can be better prepared and more resilient should they have to face such an emergency in the future.”

The report, Insights on Emergency Response to Terrorism Events, makes six recommendations to improve the effectiveness of emergency responses to acts of terrorism:

•    Communication: Multiple communication platforms—including traditional and new media—must be used to ensure effective emergency communication. Organizations must have the capability to monitor social media to deal with rumours and false information, which can hinder response efforts.
•    Partnerships: The use of common language and training among emergency management professionals is crucial to building trusted, effective partnerships before an emergency occurs.
•    Adaptability: Emergency response teams and protocols must be flexible enough to adapt to the new tactics and tools that may be deployed by terrorists.
•    Victim definition: Consider broadening the definition of victims to include first responders, family and friends of the victim, and even the family, friends, and community of the perpetrator who are often negatively impacted by the event.
•    First responder recognition and identification: Use uniforms that are easily recognizable by the public as the official uniforms of law enforcement or other first responder agencies.
•    Returning to normalcy as soon as possible: Set up response protocols that allow for a timely return to normalcy without sacrificing investigative rigour.

The recommendations in this briefing follow discussions at a joint meeting between the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for National Security and Council on Emergency Management as well as evidence from a literature review, the board noted.

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