Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Hazard Based Planning


Template for the Development of a Municipal Hazard-Specific Emergency Plan

Guidance on populating this template

  • The development and implementation of this hazard-specific plan is voluntary since it exceeds the requirements of the current legislated program. While municipalities currently have emergency response plans that are designed to address all hazards, recommended practices suggest that risk-based emergency management programs are more robust.
  • Municipalities may choose to include hazard-specific plans as part of their emergency response plans as annexes and appendices, or as stand-alone documents.
  • The template provides guidance and emphasizes those elements and actions in the individual hazard plans that are specific to that hazard and may differ from the municipal emergency response plan.
  • The components of emergency management: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery should be examined when creating the documents as there maybe some relevancy as to what is required before, during and after the event.
  • The distribution of this plan will be left to the discretion of the Municipal Emergency Control Group. It is recommended that it be made available to those agencies identified in the plan, as appropriate, based on the sensitivity of the information contained within.
  • This document should help in the formalization of knowledge transfer and sharing.
  • Municipalities may modify any part of this document to fit their needs.


Many municipalities in Ontario have been adversely affected by severe weather, such as high winds, snowstorms, and prolonged periods of extreme temperature. These atmospheric hazards can pose a significant threat to public safety, health, the environment, property and the economy. The impact of severe weather may be localized, as in the case of a tornado, or widespread, as in the case of an ice storm or temperature extremes.

The purpose of this guideline is to assist municipalities in developing a Severe Weather Emergency Plan. The development and implementation of a severe weather plan is voluntary since it exceeds the requirements of the current legislated program. While municipalities currently have emergency response plans that are designed to address all hazards, recommended practices suggest that risk-based emergency management programs are more robust.

Aim and Scope

The aim of this plan is to allow for a more coordinated response to an emergency arising from [insert hazard]. [Include a definition of the hazard – specifically where several hazards are put into one category (for example: severe weather may be a category that contains blizzards, wind storms, ice storms, etc.)]

The scope of this plan is to identify lead agencies and detail their responsibilities in the case of an emergency caused by [insert hazard]. The plan should also detail resource and emergency information requirements.

Authority and Maintenance

[Identify the authority this plan falls under (e.g. by-law)]

[Discuss the review and revision cycle of the plan, who is responsible for it, and how often the task will need to be carried out. It is recommended that this be done annually or after an event related to the hazard (i.e. after an exercise, after an actual emergency)]

Example: This plan is published as Annex H to the Town of Trillium Emergency Response Plan as authorized by By-law 01-05; and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, RSO 1990. The custodian of this plan shall be the Town of Trillium Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC), who is responsible for the annual review, revision, and testing of this plan.”

Description of Hazard and Risk (refer to Municipal Community Risk Profile)

Characteristics of Hazard

[Geographic area potentially affected (i.e. Can the hazard affect the entire community or a specific facility/area? Include a map if it’s a specific area). Does the hazard have the potential to migrate outside of municipal boundaries?]

[If applicable, describe the typical lead time and/or the time of year that the hazard is most likely to occur.]

Characteristics of Risk

[Include information on probability and consequence from your HIRA. Example: a community may identify flooding as a hazard and have a flood map; however, the risk would be the potential damage to lives and property within that floodplain. (Consider the time of the day, week, or year with respect to potential municipal impact)]

[If applicable, include maps of the impacted facilities/areas.]


Implementation of Plan

[Who has the authority to implement the plan (e.g. municipal emergency control group, lead agency)?]

[Who maintains the notification list of external partners?]

[Who notifies those who have responsibilities under this plan and how?]

The author must state who has the authority to initiate the notification process and implement the Plan. The authority may lie with key individuals, such as any member of the Municipal Emergency Control Group or a department head. The person responsible for maintaining the notification list for internal personnel and external partners should be clearly indicated. A clear and succinct notification process must show who is responsible for making the notification contacts and list the primary and secondary notification methods.

Functional Roles and Responsibilities (specific to this plan)

[Detail what agencies and individuals would have a role in the implementation of the Plan and list specific responsibilities. Consider the following:

  • Who is the initial community lead agency1? (e.g. fire, police, health, public works, EMS). Is there a need for an outside agency to be the lead? (e.g. an on-site hazardous material emergency or a train derailment).
  • Are multiple agencies required to assist with the response? If so, who are they? (ie. municipal, upper-tier, provincial, federal, industry, and NGOs)
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the lead and other response agencies involved2?
  • Identify where emergency response plans for external agencies are located (e.g. website, intranet site, EOC, etc.).
  • Will the Incident Management System be utilized? Is it a single or unified command?
  • Who are the partners (additional subject matter experts required in the EOC to provide additional expertise)]

Evacuation and Shelter-In-Place

[What is the protocol for both Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place?

  • Consider: Is there a need to evacuate or to shelter-in-place specific for this hazard that is different from your existing evacuation and shelter plan?
  • Outline shelter-in-place, evacuation procedures, and evacuee hosting, if applicable (e.g. pre-planned evacuation routes, and procedures for determining an evacuation route specific to the emergency).
  • Identify Reception Centres, Evacuation Centres and Responsibilities
  • Plan for pets/livestock
  • Consider hazard impact on evacuation routes
  • Detail the extent of municipal assistance that would be considered in assisting evacuees (financial, logistics/advice)]

Arrangements with Neighbouring Communities and/or Lower and Upper-Tiers

[Detail arrangements (mutual assistance agreements, MOUs, etc.) with neighbouring communities to provide assistance, such as the hosting of evacuees, the availability and use of alternate EOCs and/or Hazmat teams, and human resource sharing. Remember that your outside resources from neighbouring communities maybe already committed as they have been impacted by the same event and/or their response may be delayed.]

[Detail the extent of municipal assistance that would be considered in assisting evacuees (financial, logistics/advice).]

Emergency Information and Communications

[Provide hazard-specific emergency information and/or directions to where the information is housed. Consider including pre-written news releases and/or key messages. Refer to your municipal Emergency Information plan, if applicable.]

[Identify hazard-specific communications authorities and arrangements (e.g. what broadcast media to contact during and after business hours, arrangements for joint information with province and other agencies, and public alerting systems).]

[Provide information on or web links to public education materials (Preparedness) for this hazard that have already been released by the municipality. This information can be used to support emergency information efforts during a response (e.g. to media, public, neighbouring communities).]

[Consider including information regarding language and communications barriers for at-risk populations. Consider a variety of communication channels that may be of assistance (e.g. alternate language radio, translation of key messages).]

[Include drafted media releases or public alerting strategy.]


[Identify resources needed to support the response to this hazard and the process for acquiring them (e.g. contact Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, external suppliers, 24/7 suppliers, Supply Chain Management).]

[Include planning considerations for resources, including equipment and personnel:

  • Staging areas and base camps (e.g. parking lot for trucks, rest areas for personnel)
  • Access routes and transportation
  • Need for specialized skill-set(s)
  • Availability and accessibility of resources (required/source information)
  • Cost and reimbursement
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Food and shelter
  • Safety and security of personnel
  • Critical Incident Stress Management
  • Succession planning for protracted emergency
  • Re-deployment or demobilization of resources
  • Return of borrowed or leased resources
  • Reference to Support Plans/Supplemental Plans (annexes)
  • Inventory/location/items]

[Include a contact list of resource suppliers.]


[Outline financial procedures and obligations, such as:

  • Pre-existing contracts with 24/7 suppliers
  • Extra-ordinary expenditures
  • Expenditure authorities (e.g. who can sign a purchase order?)
  • Human resources considerations (e.g. tracking of over-time, volunteers, collective agreements)
  • Potential cost recovery (e.g. third party liability)
  • Location and procedure for accessing emergency petty cash
  • Donations Management
  • If applicable, contact Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (see ODRAP Guidelines at]

Support/Supplemental Plans:

[EOC opening/activation, EOC operations, public works agreements, fire services agreement.]


Reduces the likelihood of the event.

[List prevention actions taken to date for the hazard - such as land use planning]


Reduces the impact of the event.

[List mitigation actions taken to date for the hazard such as back-flow valves in vulnerable wards]


[Consider what preparedness initiatives are needed for the plan (e.g. training, public education, communications)]

Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP)

[Based on recommended practices, consider including COOP as part of the risk management process. Consider locations of municipal services, facilities and infrastructure as they may be affected by a hazard.]


[The goal is for the municipality, citizens and businesses to recover from the event. This includes restoring the physical infrastructure where possible or desirable as well as addressing the emotional, social, economic and physical well-being of those involved. Actions to facilitate this may occur during the response such as donations management or notifying the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing re: ODRAP – (understand ODRAP and when and under what circumstances Council might utilize ODRAP. Consider the composition of an ODRAP committee and provide training).]

[Consider mitigation actions during recovery operations to lessen the impact of future reoccurrences of similar events such as utilization of land use planning for floods.]

[Consider establishing a recovery information centre where the impacted individuals can obtain additional information on the recovery process.]

Post-Event Activities


[Consider post-event reporting procedures, such as:

  • Quick tactical de-briefing (hot-wash)
  • More detailed operational de-briefing
  • Questionnaire (to volunteers, contractors, media, owners of facilities used, etc.) in order to identify gaps and future considerations for improvement
  • Development of an After Action Report, a financial report, and a report to program committee/council]

[Discuss who generates the above, when they will be created, to whom they will be presented, and how the lessons learned will be incorporated into the hazard plan.]

1 The lead agency may change during the course of the emergency.

2 You should work with external agencies to develop their list of responsibilities.