A whole city approach to mass casualty planning

Tabitha Beaton, Planner, Calgary Emergency Management Agency and Katherine Severson, Lead, Emergency Management Team, Calgary Police Service

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Abstract: Traditionally, the response to mass casualty incidents has focused on the front line. However, effective management of these incidents relies on the seamless coordination of emergency, municipal and community services activities. The coordinated, complex planning required for response and recovery requires a holistic planning perspective, extensive engagement and collaborative problem-solving approach. This case study looks at the challenges, opportunities and solutions encountered by the Calgary Emergency Management and Calgary Police Service in its collective planning process for mass casualty incidents. The intent of Calgary’s mass casualty incident plan is to provide an overarching framework to outline how all of the individual organisational plans come into effect to provide comprehensive response and recovery efforts. It does not provide an in-depth look at the frontline emergency services response, but rather looks at how these critical efforts can work in conjunction with a range of additional municipal, private and non-governmental agencies to provide for the full spectrum of needs victims, families and the community will have during and following a mass casualty incident.


Keywords: mass casualty, collaboration, emergency and disaster management, response planning


Tabitha Beaton is a planner with the Calgary Emergency Management Agency. She is responsible for planning associated with mass casualty incidents and emerging emergency management issues. She has led issues and crisis management, strategic planning and multi-agency projects with emergency services across Alberta for the past 20 years.


Katherine Severson leads the Emergency Management Team in the Major Events Section of the Calgary Police Service. She is responsible for emergency response planning, incident command and incident management training, and collaborating with partner agencies before and during major events and incidents.


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