Emergency Preparedness Canada (EPC) is a federal government organization within the Department of National Defence. It plays an important role in the development and maintenance of civil emergency preparedness in Canada. In encouraging and supporting civil preparedness for emergencies, EPC must be able to plan for disasters and communicate this information to professionals at other levels of government. This is currently done by exercising national-scale mock disasters through an Operations Centre located in Ottawa, using computers, satellite communications and cable vision feeds. These operations involve personnel from the municipal, provincial and federal levels.
For the future, EPC has developed several new technologies including the NHEMATIS (Natural Hazards Electronic Map and Assessment Tools Information Systems), is a national-scale automated facility for the collection and analysis of natural hazard information. NHEMATIS will be combined with characterizations of population and infrastructure to allow analyses of diverse risks and vulnerability.
In supporting risk assessment, NHEMATIS will, in the long-term, include complex analysis and modelling capabilities to address the Canadian situation, including neighbourhood analysis, network analysis, topological analysis and visibility analysis. The risk assessment is intended to provide a number of significant benefits, including shared knowledge between health experts and national, provincial and local organizations which have a vested interest in supporting emergency preparedness for various geographical locations in Canada. NHEMATIS is intended to be a means of integrating the knowledge base of professionals from complementary disciplines.
Communication of Natural Hazards Information
Acknowledging the value of authoritative national information on the state of natural hazards in Canada and how one might prepare for a natural disaster, EPC and other partners in the federal government and private industry have developed a Canadian Natural Hazards Poster-Map. The generalized poster map will be made available to the public and planners in 1996 through print media and electronically via the Internet, Emergency Preparedness Information Exchange (EPIX), at "http://hoshi.cic.sfu.ca/ ~epc/". The map was created by a multidisciplinary group of scientists and professionals who provided information from their domains to a central authority, the NATIONAL ATLAS OF CANADA, by using conventional maps and reports, but also by electronic means and geographic information systems. The poster map is intended to raise the consciousness of governments and the public in general; provide a tool for schools and educational institutions; assist the work of emergency planners and insurance companies; and support Canada's contribution to the United Nations. SAFEGUARD is a national information program aimed at increasing awareness of emergency preparedness in Canada. This EPC initiative unites government, private and volunteer organizations forming the emergency planning, response and recovery community. SAFEGUARD NET is EPC's main Internet repository of publicly available information on emergency preparedness. SAFEGUARD, and other EPC publications, are available on the EPC website, noted above.