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Disaster Management

Much of disaster management is common sense, but as Emergency Measures coordinator Barry Manuel says, it’s "common sense under uncommon stress.”

That was as true in 1917 as it is today, but today emergency and disaster response has become a specialty of its own.

Emergency Measures Organizations Will open a new window, or EMOs, are an important part of modern society. They help coordinate other emergency agencies: fire and police departments, medical personnel and groups like the Salvation Army, Red Cross and Saint John Ambulance--all groups that played a role in the 1917 disaster.

Across Canada and in most of the western world, cities and businesses are required today to have emergency plans to cover a wide range of events, including natural disasters like floods and storms.

In the wake of the World Trade Center bombings on September 11, 2001, terrorism and its effects are concerns as well.

Some changes are small but important. Remember how Nova Scotia's fire departments sent firefighting teams to Halifax after the Explosion? Much their equipment was useless because they used different sizes of hoses, which couldn't be connected to city fire hydrants.

Today, cities across the country share standards on most such types of equipment. All municipalities are required to have disaster plans Will open a new window. So are institutions and businesses.

Emergency measures officials say every household and every individual should have a disaster plan. They offer tips Will open a new window on what people should do. Continue >

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View Halifax map in 1917 Swissair case study
Swissair Flight111
Discover the many parallels between the Halifax Explosion and the crash of Swissair Flight 111.
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A Romance of the Halifax Disaster, came from an unlikely source. Its author was Lt.-Col. Frank McKelvey Bell, a militia officer who was the senior district medical officer in Halifax. Bell chaired the city's medical relief committee.

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