Office of Emergency Management

Know Your Risks



High-rise Fires

High-rise buildings are designed to be more fire-safe than the average single-family dwelling. Floors and ceilings are constructed with fire-resistant materials and are separated into fire compartments. However, in the event of a fire, there are a number of things you can do to protect your family and your property.

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Extreme Weather

As global temperatures continue to rise and the world's climate continues to destabilize, cities around the world are experiencing more extreme and unusual weather events including extreme temperatures, precipitation, droughts and storms. The incidence of extreme weather is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the years to come.



Major rain storms can cause flooding, especially in low-lying areas. Flash floods may occur without warning as streams and rivers overflow their banks. Heavy rain may also cause sewers to back up.


Extreme Heat and Cold

Children and seniors, people with chronic health problems and special needs, the homeless, people who work or exercise vigorously outdoors are especially vulnerable to extreme heat and cold.


Power Failures and Utility Disruptions

Power failures and utility disruptions can be caused by failures in the system or external events such as severe weather. A power outage may last from a few minutes to a few days. Prolonged power outages in extreme hot or cold weather may put your health and safety at risk.

Explosion at USE Hickson Plant in Scarborough, April 2000

Hazardous Materials Accidents

Hazardous materials, such as chemicals, fuels and solvents are harmful to people and the environment. Many chemicals cannot be seen or smelled, but they can be deadly. Accidents are more likely to occur in areas where hazardous materials are stored, used and transported such as industrial parks and along highways or railways.


Health Emergencies

Health emergencies may be caused by the spread of communicable diseases and contaminants in air, food or water.

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Tornadoes and High-Speed Winds

Tornadoes and high-speed winds can cause death, injury and millions of dollars in property damage. Tornados are usually preceded by a severe thunderstorm, black skies and heavy rain.


Winter Storms

Winter storms such as blizzards, ice storms and heavy snowfalls may create hazardous conditions and cause power disruptions. Being prepared for severe weather can help minimize your risk of injury.



Generally, people have come to associate terrorism with violent events occurring in other countries. Recent events have shown that Canada is not free from acts of terrorism and there are things you can do to help keep your community safe and secure.


Nuclear Risk

Toronto's neighbouring municipality of Pickering is home to the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.  Although the risk of a nuclear power accident is very low, the City of Toronto has a plan in place to deal with this type of event.