Municipal Responsibilities

BEM Chapter 6 - Municipal Responsibilities

Alberta's Emergency Management Act mandates local authorities to prepare for and respond to disasters that occur within their boundaries. Local authority responsibilities are as follows:

Appoint members of council to an emergency advisory committee.
This committee consists of one or more members of council who serve in an advisory role to council. They advise council on emergency plans and programs and review emergency plans on an annual basis.

Appoint a Director of Emergency Management (DEM) on the recommendation of the emergency management committee.
The position and role of the DEM is mandated by section 11(2)(2) of the Emergency Management Act, which states that the local authority of each municipality shall appoint a director of municipal emergency management, who shall:

  • prepare and co-ordinate emergency plans and programs for the municipality;

  • act as director of emergency operations on behalf of the municipal emergency management agency;

  • co-ordinate all emergency services and other resources used in an emergency; and

  • perform other duties as prescribed by the local authority.


The DEM is the key figure in the overall administration of a municipality’s disaster preparedness program and has responsibility for the development and maintenance of the municipal emergency plan (MEP). It is also important for the DEM to ensure that someone is designated to assume the DEM’s responsibilities in his or her absence.

Establish an Emergency Management Agency.
The agency acts as the agent of the local authority to carry out the local authority’s statutory powers and obligations. The key role of the agency is to prepare and implement the municipal emergency plan.

The agency consists of the DEM, who chairs the agency, and senior members of core agencies and organizations in the community that have a key emergency response role. Typical membership includes:

  • Communications

  • Director of Emergency Management

  • Disaster Social Services Manager

  • Emergency Medical Services

  • Fire

  • Emergency Public Information

  • Municipal Administration

  • Police

  • Public Works & Transportation

  • Regional Health Authority

  • School Board & School

  • Utilities

  • Others as required


It is highly recommended that a municipality pass a municipal emergency management by-law to establish authority for a local emergency management program. The by-law would describe the local structure, authorize the municipal emergency plan and outline any mutual aid arrangements with neighboring local authorities.  One of the key sections would be the delegation of power to declare a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) and who the power is delegated to.  Otherwise, SOLE must be declared by a quorum of council by resolution.  



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