City of Calgary shares four-year Disaster Risk Report
By Avert staff
Calgary’s agency for emergency management updated city officials on the community’s severe weather emergency risks this week, and shared its 2022 Disaster Risk Report.
Sue Henry, Calgary’s chief of emergency management and 9-1-1, said in a statement the city is well prepared, with a range of emergency response plans and procedures in place to mitigate the impacts of severe winter weather events.
“Calgary is a winter city … We have experienced winter storms and extreme cold before and are well-prepared. We would ask Calgarians to check in on their own household winter safety precautions, and make sure you pack a winter emergency car kit with extra clothes, blankets and candles.”
Henry also urged Calgarians to check in on others who might need help surviving the harsher weather.
The city also shared its 2022 Disaster Risk Report, a full public report released every four years that summarizes yearly reviews of trends, local risks and hazards, evaluated by their potential impact and likelihood.
This year, civil disobedience, pandemic and dam breach on the Elbow River were added as high risks, the city said in a news release. All three of the newly categorized “High Risks” were on previous disaster risk lists, with pandemic and civil disobedience listed as “Medium”, and dam breach (Elbow River) as “Low”. Events and trends in Calgary and elsewhere in Canada were factored into upgrading them to “High”, with the exception of Dam Breach on the Elbow river which was upgraded not due to likelihood, but on potential for financial impacts.
“Studying our risks informs everything we do – our emergency management strategies, processes, investment in mitigation projects, our community preparedness activities. Citizens expect us to lead them through emergencies, and the first step in that is knowing what we could be up against,” Chief Henry said.
“There is a role for everyone. If Calgarians are aware of the top disaster risks and understand how they can prepare, they will be able to take actions that protect themselves and their families, their businesses, and communities.”
Other highlights of the 2022 Disaster Risk Report include:
- A total of 65 hazards and threats were analyzed, and categorized into High, Medium and Low risks.
- The increasing population shift from rural to urban environments, new uncharted extremes, climate change, interconnectivity and reliance on technology, aging infrastructure, social inequities, and increasing disaster losses are all trends that were weighed in the evaluation.
- Climate change is expected to increase the frequency, duration, and severity of many local hazards. Proactive measures taken to mitigate and reduce these risks today will be critically important to managing them in the future.
- Calgary is Canada’s hotspot for disaster events in terms of both frequency and impact. Calgary is home to one out of seven of Canada’s costliest events since 2010, in terms of insured losses. The Calgary region has averaged over $500 million in insured losses per year over the last decade. (Insured losses only represent 40-50 per cent of total losses on average – meaning the actual impact of disasters are double these numbers, with the additional costs being borne by governments, businesses, and individuals when a disaster occurs.)
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