Essay Sample on Emergency Response: Preparing Governments for Crisis

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1651 Words
Date:  2023-09-17


Countries are always prone to emergencies, both from human activities and natural causes. Response to an emergency is a critical function of government. Naturally occurring emergencies could result from floods, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis, among others. Crises that result from human activities could include terrorist attacks, nuclear explosions, oil spills, and accidents, among others (Government of Canada, 2020). Since not all emergencies can be avoided, it is essential to have a response strategy and framework. An emergency response framework outlines the approach that can be adapted to deal with an emergency whenever it strikes. The framework should help a nation rise from the ruins of disaster within the shortest possible timeframe. Different countries should learn from each other on matters of emergency response. Canada has a functional and working federal emergency management system; still, they have bits of learning from the United Arab Emirates national response framework.

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Canada Emergency Description

Canada is one of the developed economies of the world. Naturally, one would expect that their disaster and emergency situation is well-handled. For instance, every country in the world is battling the Covid-19 emergency today, and Canada is not spared. In the recent past, the country has had to battle with other emergencies like the 2019 Alberta wildfires, the 2019 Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick floods, among others (Government of Canada, 2020). It is a clear indication that Canada has to deal with emergencies from time to time. Apart from the natural emergencies, human-made ones like extremism and consequent terror attacks have been in existence for years, and they keep threatening national peace and stability. Therefore, a national response framework is fundamental. It should be put in place as part of preparedness for any emergency that may arise.

Emergency Management

Canada has the Federal Emergency System (FES) that is designed to ensure that the Canadian government has a scheme of response to any emergencies. The FES has a constant regime of mitigation plans, as well as preparedness activities. As part of the emergency response in the country, the government operates a 24/7 center that gathers information from across the world. This center is tasked with coordinating efforts of all involved agencies during emergencies (Government of Canada, 2015). The country has a variety of departments involved in emergency response like Health Canada, Global Affairs Canada, and Transport Canada, among others. Different departments can be called upon in various emergencies, and their efforts are coordinated by the government operations center. Emergencies could be at the federal level or provincial level; however, it is the federal government that has significant control of emergency management in the country.

National Disaster Response Strategy and Framework

Canada’s FES is defined as the ‘all hazards’ system. It is deemed as such because the framework incorporates a response strategy to all types of threats, including cybercrimes, natural disasters, and national security threats. Apart from the management of response, the FES also provides the standard processes for managing recovery efforts. It covers both efforts for the federal government and the provincial territories of Canada. The FES is divided into three practical parts; before an emergency, during an emergency, and after a crisis (Government of Canada, 2015). It defines the roles of each involved party in the three phases of emergency response to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in dealing with the situation. The most crucial thing in any of the three steps is to know what to do. The FES prescribes actions and approaches for responders and the victims with clarity. It covers significant issues from preparedness to recovery from a disaster.

Difference between UAE NRF and Canada NRF

The United Arab Emirates has a comprehensive and robust national response framework (NRF) to emergencies, which can be said of Canada too. However, there is always something to borrow from each other. Canadians can adopt what is better than theirs in the UAE framework. The Canadian framework takes a disaster management system controlled from the top at the federal level (Government of Canada, 2015), while the UAE’s approach seeks to manage disaster from the lowest possible jurisdictional level (NCEMA, 2013).

Another difference between the two is that the UAE framework contains comprehensive training plans for emergency response. In contrast, the Canadian context is majorly based on activities. The UAE framework not only considers events within the national borders but also externally that can threaten the county’s peace and stability. The Canadian framework concentrates on internal events within Canada, and not externally. Whereas the FES is majorly operated by the government of Canada under the Government Operations Centre (GOC), the NRF in UAE has an authority established by the law and designated to implement it, the National Emergency, Crisis, and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA).

Principles of the Integrated Emergency Management

There are different principles of emergency management. The core principles in disaster management are mitigation or prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. They are derived from the four main phases of disaster management. Mitigation ensures an annual risk assessment is done, focusing on the most critical hazards and concentrating efforts on reducing the risk of the said hazards (Fagel, 2010). Preparedness focuses on strengthening the command and crisis action teams through training and resourcing. For instance, in readiness for terror attacks, the Canadian government can increase surveillance technology equipment for the disciplined forces.

The response part occurs when an emergency occurs. It must be clear who should be the first responders and the command chain that should be followed in response (Fagel, 2010). The authorities involved cannot afford to make a misstep during a response. Finally, there is recovery. It includes all the activities needed to get things back to normalcy. For instance, if the response was to a flood crisis, the recovery concern would be getting people to their normal lives with suitable housing and healthy living. Other principles include command management and communication management. They require centrality when handling them to ensure that all efforts are properly coordinated (Fagel, 2010). In the long run, there must be a working system of maintenance to ensure readiness at all times.

Emergency Preparedness Activities

Emergency preparedness in the Canadian framework is a ‘before an emergency’ concern. It keeps the people ready for the unknown. For all the possible emergencies like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, among others, the framework prescribes what individuals and agencies should do. These pre-emergency activities are about getting prepared for any eventualities. When the government provides the 9-1-1 emergency dial for emergencies, it is part of the preparedness.

Moreover, equipping first responders like the police with cars, firefighters with instruments, and paramedics with gears and means of transport all amount to preparedness activities (Rotolo & Berg, 2010). The Government of Canada also budgets for emergencies and disasters in its annual budget, which is part of preparedness activities. Training on fire fighting, first-aid, and evacuation are also meant to be preparedness activities, such that people are not caught off-guard in situations where they can help during emergencies (Rotolo & Berg, 2010).

Communications and Information Management

During an emergency, communication and information management are critical components if the team is to be successful. The Canada FES prescribes the Government Operations Center (GOC) as the center for coordination and information gathering and dissemination. On the other hand, the UAE framework mandates the National Emergency, Crisis, and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) as the coordinating body in the collection and dissemination of information (NCEMA, 2013). It shows similarity in that both frameworks have an established central entity to manage the flow of information. It ensures that there is no conflict in data sharing, and decisions are made centrally for the most significant benefit of the nation in the response.

Command and Management, Ongoing Management and Maintenance

Command management depends on the nature of the disaster, and the agencies involved in a response. A terrorist attack response shall have different command management from a response to floods or hurricanes. Most, if not all, emergencies shall require a multidisciplinary and multi-agency response team (Fagel, 2010). As such, the cohesive working of the organs involved is vital. There must be an established framework to ensure that they work together in harmony and achieve the intended objective. The Canadian framework does not clearly define the relationship between the agencies. However, the UAE framework places supreme authority on NCEMA, which should decide the interrelationship between agencies during emergency response. When a response activity is ongoing, NCEMA of the UAE allocates the lead agency role to an agency, which then takes control of the operation with the support of other organs (NCEMA, 2013).


There are noticeable differences and similarities between the Canadian framework and the UAE framework. Each has a thing to benchmark from the other, and from that improves their approach to emergency management. However, the most important thing is ensuring that under the circumstances of disaster and emergency response, the country is ready to give its best and keep its citizens safe and secure. Most emergencies shall occur without prior warnings and signs, which amplifies the need for a response framework that can be implemented any time the nation is called to swing into action. The strategies may not always work, depending on the exact situation that arises; hence, they should be developed with a proper allowance for adaptability and flexibility.


Fagel, M. (2010). Principles of emergency management and emergency operations centers (EOC) (1st ed.).

Government of Canada. (2015). Hazards and Emergencies. Retrieved 3 July 2020, from

Government of Canada. (2020). Natural hazards - Retrieved 3 July 2020, from

NCEMA – National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority. (2013). National Response Framework (pp. 1-41). Abu Dhabi: NCEMA.

Rotolo, T., & Berg, J. (2010). In Times of Need: An Examination of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief Service Volunteers. Nonprofit And Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 40(4), 740-750.

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