Regional Municipality of York and its municipal partners each have comprehensive emergency management programs and plans in place. Whether an emergency is caused by people, technology or nature, these programs and plans are designed to protect the people and property of the region. The type of emergency plan activated depends upon the nature and scope of the emergency. In the event of a large-scale emergency, teams of qualified professionals work together to coordinate emergency response services.
The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act defines an emergency as:
"A situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise"
York Region Emergency Management resides in the office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), and ensures continuous training of personnel and testing and updating of the plans. Its primary responsibilities include:Abridged 2012 emergency plan
Municipalities routinely respond to situations that require response from Police, EMS and Fire. Emergencies, however, may affect a large part of the Region and exceed the capability of local resources, requiring additional personnel, equipment and expertise. This may necessitate that the Region provide the organizational framework within which the coordinated response would take place.
The Regional response would be coordinated from the Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC), located in Newmarket (with a back-up location in East Gwillimbury).
The REOC consists of a group of Regional Department Heads and other key personnel chaired by the CAO, which is responsible for directing all Emergency operations and providing the personnel and resources needed to effectively manage the Emergency within the Region.
York Region Emergency Management has six key responsibilities:
Develop, maintain and update the York Region Emergency Plan (to PDF: EM Plan), and coordinate the regional plan with the Province and the nine area municipalities (to Contact Us).
Review and update the Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA).
Conduct training programs and exercises for York Region employees and other persons on emergency response and recovery activities.
Deliver public education and awareness on risks to public safety and on personal preparedness for emergencies.
Develop, maintain and update business continuity plans, business resumptions plans, and crisis communication plans.
Deliver fire safety and personal emergency preparedness at the Community Safety Village (CSV).
York Region Emergency Plan
The Emergency Management and Civil protection Act requires municipalities to formulate and implement emergency plans. York Region's comprehensive Emergency Plan assigns roles and responsibilities for actions by the Region to establish effective response capabilities. It is consistent with the Incident Management System (IMS)model that defines the basic command structure required for the effective management of an emergency. (to PDF: EM Plan),
Emergency Plan "Snapshot"
The Emergency Plan (EP) Snapshot serves as a quick reference overview and "road-map" through the York Region's Emergency Plan for the Regional Emergency Control Group (RECG) and Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC) staff. It provides high-level guidance for an initial response and describes the various roles and responsibilities during an emergency situation. (to PDF: EM overview)
York Region's comprehensive Emergency Plan is designed to protect and preserve life and property during times of crisis by providing efficient, co-ordinated response capabilities and decision-making. The Region takes part in annual exercises to test the effectiveness of its Plan and ensure that all agencies are familiar with their respective roles in the event of an actual emergency.
Through their participation in simulated emergencies, participating agencies are able to identify strengths and areas needing improvement in their plans, policies and procedures prior to an actual emergency.
On May 30, 2011, York Regions' 2011 exercise dubbed "Collaborative Storm" simulated a severe weather scenario. This exercise focused on communications between the Town of Georgina, the Town of East Gwillimbury, the REOC, and the Simulation Cell (Sim Cell – please refer to 2010 exercise). The scenario focused on eight major "notional" event sites that were affected by the storm. The exercise addressed emergency response and decision-making processes emphasizing communications, public information, emergency response coordination, inter-EOC response coordination, resources integration, situation reporting, action planning cycles, and reception centre procedures. It also served to build operational relationships between the command staff teams at the REOC and the two municipal EOCs.
"Operation Strike Three", conducted on May 31, 2010, simulated a multiple-site scenario. A severe thunderstorm generates a microburst that destroys two Hydro One transmission towers, causing a power blackout in the Town of Markham. It also causes a cargo plane to crash onto Hwy 400. One of its engines, however, first tears off and crashes into the South Maple Pumping Station, threatening a loss of water to local municipalities. This intense scenario once again utilized a "sim cell" - a cadre of experienced players who called into the REOC simulating those at the incident sites, evacuation centre, and many other agencies involved in responding to the event.
York Region conducted "Operation Green Day" on May 25, 2009. It simulated a chlorine spill at the Keswick Water Pollution Control Plant, requiring local residents to either evacuate or "shelter in place." This first-time exposure to a hazardous-materials incident for many in the REOC also saw the introduction of a "sim cell" - a second room full of experienced people simulating actors involved in the response to the emergency. Through telephone calls, email messages and faxes into the REOC, they provided the details of the response to the members of the REOC, to which they responded.
"Operation On-The-Move - Spring Thaw" was held May 26, 2008. It simulated amplified flood conditions experienced earlier in the spring in low-lying areas in the Township of King, and the Towns of East Gwillimbury and Georgina. York Region Emergency Management partnered with Health Services Long Term Care & Seniors Branch, and Vaughan Emergency Management for this exercise.
York Region conducted "Operation Rising Waters" on October 29, 2007. It consisted of simulated flooding in the region, the evacuation of residents, and the opening of reception centres. Participating municipalities included the Town of Georgina, the Town of East Gwillimbury, the Town of Newmarket, the Town of Aurora, the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, and the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority.
Exercise "Flu Ready", held October 23, 2006, focussed on an influenza pandemic affecting Canada, Ontario and ultimately York Region. Conducted as an interactive workshop, it concentrated on key issues – decision-making, the impact on the delivery of essential services, the interface between levels of government, the dissemination of public information, and the role of media relations.
Exercise "Whiteout" simulated severe weather conditions due to a major snow storm in the region. It was held on November 28, 2005 and involved York Region, the Town of Newmarket, the Town of Aurora, and the Town ofRichmond Hill.
Field exercise "Long-Term Care" took place on November 3 & 4, 2004. It involved a simulated, unidentified gas causing a respiratory outbreak in two long-term care facilities in Newmarket and Maple and their subsequent partial evacuation.
York Region simulated a mass casualty emergency exercise involving a collision between a tanker truck and a GO Transit train on Timothy Street in Newmarket on May 29, 2002. Exercise "Timothy" involved York Region, the Town of Newmarket, GO Transit, York Regional Police, and Central York Fire Services.
York Region's emergency management training program provides training to:
Members of the Regional Control Group (RECG)
York Region employees
Targets the key risk areas identified for York Region
Is provided to current and new staff whose roles and responsibilities include the coordination and management of a significant incident in York Region
Provides Regional employees with a basic understanding of personal emergency preparedness so they and their families are better prepared for an emergency
For additional information on training, please visit:
York Region Emergency Management takes public awareness and education seriously. Get informed!
Use the information provided on this website and others to educate yourself.
To learn about preparedness: (link to pdf)
To learn about preparedness for those with disabilities: (link to pdf)
Please visit our Preparedness Page for more information.
Emergency Preparedness Week
During national Emergency Preparedness Week, which usually falls on the first full week in May, York Region works with its municipal partners in planning special events that increase public awareness and education.
Visit this page each spring for details of events happening near you!