Ministry of the
Solicitor General

OFM - 04-33-13

Community Emergency Plan Participation

Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Subject Coding

PFSG 04-33-13


Emergency Response


August 1998


Community Emergency Plan Participation


Under Review


To identify how the fire department can effectively participate in the community emergency plan.

Service Delivery Implications:

  • Fire department should be identified as a "team member" in the municipal emergency plan.
  • As the risks which threaten our communities have increased and changed, so has the expanded role of the fire service in emergency management.
  • There is an increasing role for fire department participation in the areas of emergency medical services and hazardous materials response and emergency management.
  • Assuming the lead agency role requires an increased ability to manage emergency incidents. This requires training in emergency incident preparedness management.
  • Community emergency planning decisions must be made by the local municipality.

Steps For Emergency Planning:

  • Obtain council approval and direction
  • Build a planning team
  • Identify hazards
  • Assess capabilities
  • Co-ordinate with other agencies
  • Develop the basic plan
  • Develop the fire and rescue operational section
  • Obtain plan approval from the governing body

Policy Requirements:

  • This plan should:
  • establish emergency management procedures tailored to the specific needs of the community
  • address all potential hazards or emergencies faced by the community
  • incorporate existing personnel assignments, operating procedures and facilities
  • establish a partnership among the federal, provincial and local governments to achieve common goals
  • include all appropriate public and private sector agencies

Quality Management Standards:

  • Emergency plans should be reviewed annually and updated as required
  • Emergency plans should be evaluated through disaster drills, table-top exercises and multi-agency critiques of special incidents

Potential Areas Of Fire Service Involvement:

  • fires
  • floods
  • hazardous materials
  • hurricanes and tornadoes
  • plane crashes / train derailments
  • earthquakes
  • terrorist activities
  • search and rescue
  • building collapse (urban search and rescue)

Related Functions/Considerations:

  • During municipal emergencies:
  • all involved agencies must interact, informally sharing or pooling personnel, tasks and equipment
  • organizations may lose some of their autonomy
  • individuals may be assigned tasks unrelated to their normal role, such as firefighters directing traffic
  • public and private organizational boundaries may be crossed

Codes, Standards, and Best Practices:

Codes, Standards and Best Practices resources available to assist in establishing local policy on this assessment are listed below. All are available at Please feel free to copy and distribute this document. We ask that the document not be altered in any way, that the Office of the Fire Marshal be credited and that the documents be used for non-commercial purposes only.

See also PFSG
02-02-12 & 03 Fire Risk Assessment
02-03-01 Economic Circumstances
02-04-01& 23 Capabilities of Existing Fire Protection Services
Additional References: Emergency Management Ontario and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada