The Road to Recovery: Lessons From The 2013 Calgary Flood
Ottawa, July 16, 2015—Calgary’s timely, structured, and outcome-focused approach to recovery was crucial in getting the City back on its feet following the 2013 flood, according to a new report released today by The Conference Board of Canada.
The Road to Recovery: The City of Calgary and the 2013 Flood was conducted for The City of Calgary as an independent review of the overall performance of its Recovery Operations Centre (ROC) following the Southern Alberta floods of 2013. For this report, researchers interviewed over three dozen officials with flood recovery roles.
- By working collaboratively toward clearly defined and measurable goals, Calgary’s Recovery Operations Centre (ROC) created a fiscally responsible and accountable environment that was crucial in getting the city back on its feet.
- Lessons learned include the value of recovery metrics and performance indicators, and the need to include community actors and external stakeholders.
- Recommendations include the building of a skills inventory for recovery purposes, ensuring proper knowledge management practices are in place, and enhancing situational awareness of vulnerable populations.
The review concludes that starting recovery right away and matching its intensity to response efforts proved invaluable. In addition, the ROC was essential for centralized communications, building relationships internally and with external stakeholders, and establishing a common operational picture for decision-makers. As a trusted voice on recovery, the ROC coordinated a timely and accountable approach to recovery, enabled by metrics that allowed for transparent progress-reporting.
“The next disaster may not come for years, may not be a flood, and may not be the same size, which validates the City of Calgary’s all-hazards approach to emergency management and the value of a scalable recovery model.” said Dr. Satyamoorthy Kabilan, Director, National Security and Strategic Foresight, at The Conference Board of Canada. “The lessons learned and recommendations in our report will hopefully be able to assist the City of Calgary in validating and further maturing its recovery planning and training for future events.”
Recommendations to inform and better prepare for future large-scale recovery activities, include:
- Consider training for municipal employees whose recovery-related roles take them beyond their regular duties and place them in highly stressful environments.
- Strengthen knowledge management practices to help build depth in essential recovery skills and positions.
- Assign a human resources advisor to recovery with specific roles and responsibilities to support staff when joining or transitioning out of recovery work.
- Monitor internal and external business continuity planning to ensure staff are able to provide services to the public.
- Increase pre-event situational awareness for those citizens who lack the ability to request assistance through regular channels.
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