Strengthening Emergency Management & Wildfire Preparedness

Protecting Our Town - Strengthening Emergency Management and Wildfire Preparedness

Located in Canada’s first national park, the Town of Banff is a service centre and home to residents and businesses who serve millions of visitors throughout the year. The Town of Banff must maintain leadership in all-hazards emergency planning, prevention and readiness. With increasing occurrence or severity of wildfire, flooding and other natural disasters, Banff must work to ensure it is able to provide optimum levels of safety and protection for people in Banff, infrastructure, property and the environment.

Relevant directional plan: Municipal Emergency Plan

Within our unique mountain environment, we protect life, critical infrastructure, private and public property, the environment, and the economy of the Town of Banff from emergencies and natural disasters, including, but not limited to, fire and encroaching wildfire (Wildland Urban Interface Fire), environmental contamination, flooding, and other community crises.

The Town regularly engages local, regional, provincial and national agencies and stakeholders, to ensure preparedness and emergency plan alignment. We engage all residents and commercial organizations in prevention practices and evacuation awareness and readiness. Prevention efforts include FireSmart principles applied to all structures and landscape, with an incentive approach to foster participation of residents and businesses.

Direction from 2008 to 2018 Banff Community Plan

  • Ensure residents and visitors have access to high quality medical, emergency, and protective services and institutions.
  • Co-operate with other orders of government and Bow Valley organizations to achieve goals.
  • Improve the level of protection for environmentally significant and sensitive areas, and heritage resources.

Key Partners Include:

  • Residential property owners in Banff
  • Commercial owners and operators in Banff
  • Parks Canada / Banff National Park Field Unit, Government of Canada
  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Government of Alberta
  • Bow Valley governments, agencies and business organizations
  • South Calgary Mutual Aid Group partners
  • FireSmart Canada
  • Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta 
  • RCMP 
  • Social services support organizations and agencies
  • Covenant Health and Alberta Health Services
  • CP Rail
  • Atco, Fortis and TransAlta for utilities 
  • Communications service providers (radio and telecommunications)

Emergency Management & Wildfire Preparedness Strategies:

  • Continue to demonstrate North American best practices for wildfire preparedness and response in Banff.
  • Continuously refine all-hazards response plans.
  • Continue annual table-top training exercises and full mock disaster exercise every five years.
  • Continue regular joint training exercises with Parks Canada on structure and perimeter protection, and fuel modification; test systems, improve communication and build capacity for responding to emergencies such as wildfires.
  • Continue proactive collaboration with other agencies and orders of government to align practices in fire prevention and emergency response.
  • Continue education and engagement campaigns with residents and organizations for fire-proofing property and preparing for incidents.
  • Continue recruitment of residents to emergency alert system.
  • Leadership capacity building in neighbourhoods to mobilize champions for emergency prevention practices.
  • Continue incentive programs for reducing property risk (coniferous tree replacement, combustible roof replacement, property FireSmarting).
  • Continue ongoing mapping of wildfire risk zones, flood risk zones, evacuation route and emergency response access.
  • Continue to maximize resident and business access to, and Town partnership with, the Alberta Emergency Alert system.
  • Explore opportunities for auditing emergency preparedness and report to Council.


  • Continue to build emergency management capacity within the municipal organization for prolonged emergency response.
  • Review organizational constraints identified in recent reports from other communities affected by wildfire (U.S.) to explore options for additional precautionary improvements and recovery efforts in Banff.

Emergency Management & Wildfire Preparedness Targets by 2022:

  • Full designation of all role responsibilities in Incident Command System and up-to-date training for all relevant Town employees, and their back-ups.
  • Regional emergency management plan and plan coordinator.
  • Up-to-date and adequate equipment to support all-hazards emergencies.
  • 75% of households and 80% businesses are subscribed to the Banff emergency alerts systems.
  • 100% of perimeter neighbourhoods have participated in FireSmart programs.
  • 50% of Banff residents and businesses report knowledge of Emergency and Wildfire Preparedness responsibilities.