Emergency Planning - Town of Gravenhurst

Ice rescue

Emergency Planning



The number to call in an emergency is 911.  A call taker will then connect you with police, fire or ambulance.

Do Not use 911 for non-emergency situations.  For more information about 911 and how it works, visit:  Ontario Provincial Police

Other Emergency Service Numbers

OPP - Non-Emergency:       705-645-2211 or 1-888-310-1122

Gravenhurst Community Policing:     705-687-5023

Gravenhurst Fire Department (administrative inquiries only)     705-687-3414

Ontario Poison Centre:       1-800-268-9017   http://www.ontariopoisoncentre.ca/

Power Outages:

Hydro One:          1-800-434-1235  http://www.hydroone.com/StormCenter3/

Veridian:    1-866-579-6819   http://www.veridian.on.ca/outages/#modal

Water & Sewer Emergencies (Gravenhurst Residents)    705-687-8894

Gravenhurst Emergency Management Program Committee gh.cemc@gravenhurst.ca.  

Emergencies can happen any time anywhere and everyone has a role to play to ensure that our community is prepared and resilient. 

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act all municipalities in Ontario are required to have an Emergency Management Program.  This includes the adoption of an Emergency Plan that outlines roles and responsibilities of various individuals and groups in the event of an emergency occurring in Gravenhurst.  

The Town of Gravenhurst works closely with community partners, local emergency services, neighbouring municipalities and other levels of government to ensure the protection of life and property and to mitigate effects in the event of an emergency situation.

The key group of individuals, as outlined in the Emergency Plan, is the Gravenhurst Emergency Control Group (GECG).  In the event of an emergency or pending situation, the GECG will meet to discuss the situation and make any decisions required to ensure an effective response.  The Control Group is primarily responsible for supporting activities at the emergency site by ensuring the safety and continuity of services to the community outside of the emergency area.

Click here for a copy of the Gravenhurst Emergency Plan

The GEMPC is the group responsible for implementing and maintaining emergency program activities in Gravenhurst. The Committee consists of the following individuals or their alternates:


  •                Mayor
  •                Chief Administrative Officer
  •                Community Emergency Management Coordinators
  •                Director of Fire and Emergency Services
  •                Director of Infrastructure
  •                Director of Recreation, Arts and Culture
  •                Emergency Information Officer
  •                Detachment Commander, Ontario Provincial Police
  •                Representatives of other organizations who may be called upon from time to time

Contact us: gh.cemc@gravenhurst.ca  

When an emergency happens in Gravenhurst the group of individuals who work together behind the scenes is called the Emergency Control Group (ECG).  This group is made up of a lot of the same people who form the Emergency Management Program Committee.  Some of the responsibilities of the ECG include: 
  • Making sure there are enough resources to respond to the emergency and requesting assistance from others when required;
  • Maintaining contact with other municipalities, provincial agencies and utility companies;
  • Issuing media releases and public information notices; and
  • Ensuring the continuation of services to areas of the municipality that are not directly affected by the emergency.

A full list of responsibilities of the Control Group can be viewed as part of the Gravenhurst Emergency Plan.

Declaration of Emergency

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, an emergency is defined as "a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise."

Not all emergency situations require that the municipality declare an emergency.  Some of the considerations whether to declare an emergency include:

  • Is the situation an extraordinary event requiring extraordinary measures?
    • Does the municipality have the resources, equipment and personnel to deal with the situation?
    • Are additional personnel and equipment required to be brought in from other municipalities?
    • Will the situation last longer than the existing personnel can keep up with both the emergency situation and maintaining the continuity of all operations?
    • Are provincial resources and support personnel needed?
    • Are federal resources and support personnel needed?
    • Is there a need to open up shelters for evacuees?
    • Does the situation pose a large scale disruption to transportation or re-routing of vehicles?
    • Will the situation have a long term negative impact on the economic well-being of the community?


Financial Assistance When an Emergency Occurs

The Disaster Recovery Assistance Program (DRAP) for Ontarians is a Provincial program established to help people affected by natural disasters.

The DRAP provides financial assistance to individuals, small owner-operated businesses, farmers and not-for-profit organizations to assist with covering emergency expenses related to the repair of essential property.

The DRAP is not intended to replace the requirement of property owners to maintain property insurance and is limited to primary residences only.


Find out more about the Disaster Recovery Assistance Program for Ontarians by visiting:  http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page13760.aspx

1-844-780-8925 (Information line for applicants)


Emergency Preparedness starts at home with every one of us and each of us has a role to play in keeping our families and personal belongings safe.  Every household should have a Household Emergency Plan and an Emergency Kit. 

For information on preparing your Emergency Plan, click here....Your Emergency Preparedness Guide

If an emergency happens, it may take emergency workers some time to reach you. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours and everyone is encouraged to have an Emergency Kit ready to go should you need to leave your house quickly.  To learn more about what to put in your Kit, visit Emergency Kits

Emergencies can be extremely stressful for children, seniors and individuals with disabilities or special needs.  If you, or someone you know, is responsible for a person with special needs be sure to check this resource.....People with Disabilities | Emergency Management Ontario

Don't forget your Pets.  Find out more about protecting your pets by visiting....Pets and Service Animals

Every municipality is required to complete a Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis for their community.  The purpose is to identify all of the possible hazards (types of emergencies) that could occur and the frequency in which those have or may occur and the potential damage or consequences should it happen.

Although many of the hazards identified may occur across the entire province, every municipality may be unique in that the frequency and severity of those events can vary significantly.

Gravenhurst is surrounded by the beauty of lakes, rocks and trees.  It is also a hub of activity with our existing attractions and the various events held in our community throughout the year.  The same things that make the community attractive to residents and visitors alike also pose challenges and susceptibility for emergency situations to occur in our community.

The effects of climate change have already been experienced across Ontario with more extreme weather events over the past ten (10) years.  The increasing frequency and severity of the weather changes, including intense precipitation and wind events, pose risks to public infrastructure, buildings, stormwater and shorelines. 

Severe storms can damage our homes and businesses, our properties, trees, forests, water quality and fish habitat as well as cause major flooding.  As a result, insurance premiums increase and major economic impacts can have lasting and devastating impacts on a  community

Learn more about Climate Change by visiting the Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources.

 If you live or work near a body of water, you need to be aware if the area is subject to annual flooding and what measures you need to take when flooding does happen.

The frequency and severity of flooding can be influenced by:

  • Rapid snow melt
  • Extreme rainfall
  • Storms with high winds
  • Soil conditions
  • Ice jams
  • Topography
  • Types of land uses

The damage and emotional effects of losses from flooding can often last long after the floodwaters have receded.

The loss of business and utilities can also have long lasting effects on the stability and economy of a local community.

  • Know the risk of flooding in your area
  • Assemble an Emergency Kit
  • Make a Home Emergency Plan
  • Keep your cell phone charged
  • Have a portable radio or weather radio ready to receive critical updates
  • Keep your vehicle fueled
  • Make arrangements for your pets and have an Emergency Kit for them
  • Have your "Flood Safety Information" from the Electrical Safety Authority on hand
  • Stay informed by listening for watches and warnings on radio and television
  • Store valuables on the higher levels of your home
  • Prepare your home for extended vacancy
  • Secure loose items around the yard and dock
  • To obtain more information and find out if you are Flood Ready, visit the following website:  www.canada.ca/en/campaign/flood-ready


  • Re-enter the flooded area only after being advised that it is safe to do so
  • Watch for and report any broken utility lines
  • If you smell natural gas or propane, leave the area and report it
  • Do not attempt to use any electrical equipment that was flooded
  • Review your "Flood Safety Information" from the Electrical Safety Authority
  • Call a licensed electrician to determine if electrical equipment is safe to use
  • Do not turn on the outside gas valve - Call the utility company
  • If the furnace was flooded, have it inspected before using it
  • If you use well water, have it tested for contamination before using - review "Water Safety After a Flood" by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Review "Food Safety After a Flood" by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Disinfect all materials that were under water - review the Clean Up Guidelines from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Discard any items or materials that cannot be disinfected
  • Be aware of any signs of mould forming on the structure or materials



Prior to all emergencies, household members should review their Emergency Plan Personal Preparedness-Emergency Guide]; have an Emergency Kit ready [Personal Preparedness-Emergency Kits]


Various weather events can occur starting early Spring and continue through until late September.  Those events include:  Heavy Rainfall and High Winds; Thunderstorms; Lightning; and Tornadoes. 

Prior to a Storm, you can take actions to prepare yourself and your property to minimize damage:

  • Listen to your local radio station for the most up-to-date storm information
  • Trimming dead branches and trees that may threaten to strike your house
  • Tie down or store outdoor furniture, lawn ornaments, garbage cans and other loose objects that may blow around in the wind
  • Check that the drainage around your home will not cause flooding
  • Know how to safety shut off your utilities if the potential for flooding exists
  • If time permits, draw blinds and shades over the windows in your home to minimize the damage if the glass shatters

During a Storm

  • Take shelter in a basement, crawlspace, closet, under a staircase or in a central bathroom
  • Stay away from outside walls, windows and doors
  • If caught outside, immediately take shelter in a building or vehicle
  • Never approach downed power lines
  • Do not drive through flooded areas
  • Avoid crossing bridges where the water flow is high or fast
  • Drive with caution - traffic lights and street lighting may not be working


Severe Snow Storms / Blizzards

Gravenhurst is accustomed to experiencing a variety of weather and significant snow events is not unusual.

Environment Canada uses the following descriptions for different snow events:

Heavy snowfall can greatly reduce visibility, create hazardous road conditions, and knock down trees and power lines.

Blowing snow is snow driven by wind. It reduces visibility and can cause deep drifts, which can impede transportation and make driving dangerous. Snow drifts can also make it difficult for people to leave their homes or get out of their driveways.

snow squall is a sudden, moderately heavy snowfall characterized by blowing snow and strong, gusty winds that reduce visibility. Intense but very localized, snow squalls usually last for a relatively short period of time.

blizzard is generally characterized by strong winds and heavy or blowing snow that can cause low to no visibility.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has implemented a "Public Alerting Program".  There are different types of Alerts issued:

Special Weather Statement - least urgent type of alert and is used to let people know that there may be unusual conditions which could cause concern

Advisories - issued for specific weather events (blowing snow, fog, freezing rain, frost) that is less severe but may still impact regular routines

Watches - issued for weather conditions that are favourable for a storm or severe weather which may cause safety concerns

Warnings - is an urgent message that severe weather is either occurring or will occur 

Public Alerts are issued through the media, the Weather Radio Services or through the Government of Canada website.    The following links are to these two important websites:

Government of Canada - Public Weather Alerts

Environment and Climate Change Canada Weatheradio

For tips on driving at night and in bad weather, visit MTO website at:  https://www.ontario.ca/document/official-mto-drivers-handbook/driving-night-and-bad-weather#section-4

If you are planning on being outdoors you should be prepared to deal with a variety of weather from extreme heat to extreme cold, very rainy days or very dry days.  Both extreme heat and extreme cold can pose a significant risk for many residents, especially those who are most vulnerable.  Some of those most at risk include: 
  • Infants and young children
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People on certain types of medication
  • People with limited mobility
  • Outdoor workers


Extreme temperatures and high humidity can pose serious health hazards to healthy individuals, as well as those most vulnerable, and some of the most common affects include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat strokes.

Learn more about whether you or someone you know is at risk and the things you can do to protect yourself during extreme heat by visiting:    Extreme heat: heat waves - Canada.ca

Extreme Cold

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will issue an Extreme Cold Warning when the temperature is forecasted to fall for a minimum of two (2) hours to -35 degrees.  The Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) may then issue a warning to implement their protocol for notification to individuals in the Vulnerable Population Sector.

When a warning is received from SMDHU, Municipal Warming Centres may be opened and the locations will be posted on the website and notification will be provided to the media.

A "Warming Centre" is identified as a municipal facility available during regular business hours where individuals may drop in temporarily to get out of the cold and warm up.   No additional services are provided at these locations.

In Gravenhurst, the following locations have been identified as Warming Centres:

o          Gravenhurst Public Library - 180 Sharpe St W

Regular Business Hours are:  10:00 am - 5:00 pm (Mon & Fri); 10:00 am - 8:00 pm (Tues-Thurs); 10:00 am - 3:00 pm (Sat)

o          Gravenhurst Centennial Centre/YMCA - 101 Centennial Dr

Regular Hours are:  5:30 am - 10 pm (Mon - Fri); 7:00 am - 6:00 pm (Sat); 7:00 am - 5:00 pm (Sun), 10:00 am - 3:00 pm (Stat Holidays)

o          Gravenhurst Municipal Office - 3:5 Pineridge Gt

Regular Business Hours are:  8:30 am - 4:30 pm (Mon - Fri)

If you or someone you know is in need of accommodation, call District Community Services at 705-645-2412.  Click here for more information on District Community Services available:  Community Services - District of Muskoka

 The Salvation Army Gravenhurst also provides emergency assistance on a case by case basis.

 For emergency or crisis situations after business hours, call your local emergency services by dialing 911.

 Visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for more information on Outdoor Safety:  Cold Weather: Outdoor Safety


If it is too cold for you to go outside it is most likely too cold for your pets to go outside.  Be sure to visit the OSPCA website to make sure your pets are protected during extreme temperatures:  Cold Weather Safety


Ontario homes and businesses are supplied with energy through various sources including hydro, natural gas and oil.   There has been a significant shift in the use of renewable sources of power including wind and solar to address the impacts of greenhouse emissions on climate change.

The Ministry of Energy has an emergency plan in place that sets out procedures and arrangements for their response to a wide-spread energy supply emergency.  Visit the Ministry of Energy's website to learn more:  Ministry of Energy » Emergency Information 

Do you remember the blackout of August 14th, 2003?  The brown outs that followed?  How did these events impact you and your family?

The following are some of the impacts experienced across Ontario:

Transportation Sector:   

  • Increase in gas prices, no gas at some stations
  • Public transit delays & failures
  •  Traffic signal system failures

Water Supply:                   

  • Loss of water pressure; lack of pump power
  • 59 boil-water advisories due to sewage treatment facility failures


  • Land lines and internet disconnected
  •  Cell phone disruption

Public Safety:                    

  • Fire Calls in Toronto = 1,484
  • Police on Duty = 10,000
  • 31 degrees daytime high (which meant the potential for severe weather and heat-related health issues)

Every year local fire departments and fire rangers respond to hundreds of forest fires.  Forest fires can be extremely dangerous to people and property and have devastating effects on a community.   Being prepared in advance and knowing what actions to take in the event of a forest fire can better protect you and your family.  

Be sure to include Forest/Wild Fires in your Family Emergency Plan:  Your Emergency Preparedness Guide

For information on landscaping practices that protect your home from wildfire, visit: http://www.firecomm.gov.mb.ca/docs/fire_smart_2009.pdf  or


For more information on Forest/Wild Fires visit:



A representative of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit participates on the Gravenhurst Emergency Management Program Committee.  In the event of an emergency occurring in Gravenhurst that may have an negative impact on the health of residents, or in the event of a pandemic or health emergency occurring in Ontario, the Medical Officer of Health or his/her designate, becomes the lead expert on the Emergency Control Group.  The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit provides valuable information into all emergency planning that is carried out for Gravenhurst. 

For more information on Public Health visit the following websites:

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit -  The Role of Local Public Health in an Influenza Pandemic

Public Health Ontario - http://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/BrowseByTopic/EmergencyPreparedness/Pages/Emergency-Preparedness.aspx

Each year, more and more dangerous goods are moved across Canada by rail, road, water and air.  Transport Canada develops safety standards and regulations on dangerous goods incidents to promote public safety in the transportation of dangerous goods by all modes of transport. 

Find out more about Transport Canada's emergency management program on the transportation of dangerous goods by visiting their website:  Safety Awareness Kit for the General Public - Transport Canada

Have you considered any potential impact to your property or interruptions to your travel to and from your home in your Emergency Plan?


Most power outages are caused by severe storms such as Thunderstorms, Lightning, High Winds, Heavy Rains, Hail, and Tornadoes.  Outages may also be caused by other things like equipment failure, vehicle accidents or wildlife coming into contact with the equipment.

When power outages occur, some of the basic amenities we take for granted may not be available unless you have back up power supply.  Some of those amenities include:

  • Heating / air conditioning / lighting
  • Hot water or running water
  • Telephone service (for cordless phones)

Make sure you and your family know what to do when the power goes out and more importantly the safety precautions to take when the power comes back on.

Visit the following websites for additional information on being prepared for power outages:


To report power outages, or to check on the estimated time of restoration (ETR), contact your utility provider:

Hydro One:                        1-800-434-1235

                                             Storm Center: Power Outages

Veridian Connections:     1-866-579-6819

                                             Power Outage Map - Veridian Connections 

Stay informed by checking the municipal website, visiting the various websites listed, checking notices on the Town Page of the Gravenhurst Banner.  During an emergency situation be sure to listen to local radio and television stations.

Weather Alerts 

Environment Canada issues many different types of watches and warnings for adverse weather conditions.

Terminology (is listed in the order of severity starting from least severe to most severe type of message).

Special Weather Statement:   Means that conditions are unusual and could cause concern.

Weather Advisory:           Means that Conditions are causing concern but not serious enough to issue a warning at this time.

Weather Watch:               Means that conditions are favourable for the development of severe weather.

Weather Warning:           Means that severe weather is occurring or will be occurring shortly.

When Special Weather Statements are issued, everyone should tune in to local radio and television stations to see whether the situation is escalating and be prepared to take action to ensure the safety of themselves and their family members.

For more information on Seasonal Warnings, visit:   http://www.ontarioweather.com/CURRENT/WARNINGS/definitions.asp


Sign up to receive weather warnings directly at:  https://ecalertme.weather.gc.ca/createaccount_en.php