Home » Research Interests » Risk, Disaster and Emergency Management

Risk, Disaster and Emergency Management

We view effective emergency management as a key component in a holistic approach dedicated to making communities safer and more resilient. We work with rural and Aboriginal communities to increase capacity to better mitigate potential risks, as well as boost abilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from, emergencies and crises. By resilience we mean the capability to deal with underlying systemic problems and the ability to anticipate and handle major changes, including crises situations.

Our research on risk and disaster management have encompassed many hazards including tornadoes, water contamination, blackouts, nuclear waste and climate change.

Completed project:

Enhancing Ontario’s Rural Infrastructure Preparedness: Inter-Community Service Sharing in a Changing Climate

Climate change (CC) will exacerbate deterioration to existing infrastructure and increase replacement costs. Improved preparedness reduces risks and increases efficiency, readiness and coping capacity. To increase the preparedness of Ontario rural communities, this project develops CC-Prepared Inter-Community Service Sharing (ICSS) as an innovative strategy that expands cost-effective solutions within Ontario’s standardized Asset Management Planning (AMP) process. Overseen by a Project Advisory Board (PAB), it identifies a suite of best practice ICSS processes and principles and a range of factors and indicators that influence the uptake of ICSS as a viable and practical opportunity targeted to enhance rural infrastructure preparedness for CC. It utilizes a multimethod, interdisciplinary approach involving an environmental scan, interviews, a survey and case studies and develops an ICSS Toolkit consisting of reports, workbook, policy brief and media kit. Knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) includes blogs, teleconferences, articles, presentations and a workshop.

For small rural Ontario communities, this study enhances management of CC impacts on infrastructure through the development of a CC-Prepared ICSS strategy, increasing anticipatory, collective actions that reduce dam age and increase efficiencies. It informs sound municipal/provincial level programs and policies about innovative ICSS that benefit rural communities through the identification of Ontario-wide trends, case study best practises and action-oriented recommendations.

Completed Project:
Rural Ontario Municipal Emergency Management and Critical Infrastructure: Enhancing Planning and Preparedness Capacities for Climate Change Resilience

This is a three year project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Climate change is leading to increasing impacts on critical infrastructure and Ontario municipalities are mandated to have emergency management plans to address these threats.

Downed power lines after an ice storm on a snow covered fieldWhile 75% of Ontario municipalities are at least partly rural, important knowledge gaps exist regarding the distinct vulnerabilities and resiliencies in rural communities to actively cope with these impacts, including extreme events. To enhance municipal emergency management planning and strengthen adaptive capacities, the study undertakes collaborative research with a multi-institutional research team and uses a mixed methods approach. The goal is to further integrate emergency management with critical infrastructure planning approaches. We develop the eXtreme events Toolkit for Rural Emergency Management Enhancement (xTREME) that includes a policy brief for decision-makers, a resource guide for practitioners, a tabletop exercise, and an executive summary.

For examples of other work we’ve been involved with, please see http://wp-rdrp-dev.jibc.ca/ and https://adrp.jibc.ca/

Please see our Publications page for more information.