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From the Editor: Let’s talk about disasters

November 7, 2022 
By Maria Church


There’s no such thing as a natural disaster.

A rockslide on Mount Sylvia in the remote northern Rocky Mountains is just another day in nature. A similar slide on Turtle Mountain that buried the Alberta town of Frank in 1903 was the deadliest rockslide in Canadian history. It was a disaster because humans built a town beside an unstable mountain.

If you’re new, like me, to the disaster and emergency management world you’ve probably already heard this a few times. If you’ve been at it for a while, this is cliché.

Either way, I’m keeping it in the back of my mind as we launch of our new media brand, Avert – focus on disaster management.


You don’t have to be an emergency manager to know disasters are increasing in frequency in Canada and around the world, directly linked to increasing hazards from the changing climate.

Over a 20-year period between 1990 and 2010, the Canadian Armed Forces deployed six times on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in Canada. In the next 10 years, from 2011 to 2021, they deployed 30 times – a fourfold increase in half the time.

Last year alone, Canada’s total insured catastrophic loss was $2.04 billion, with B.C.’s fires, windstorms, and floods responsible for a large chunk of that sum, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. Their records show that is in the top five loss years for the country.

As all levels of government along with more and more private industry respond to the reality of climate change in various ways, disaster management is increasingly taking centre stage. There is a growing body of people and organizations responsible for disaster mitigation and prevention, preparation, response and recovery.

In the centre of it all are the emergency managers who are – as I’ve learned from many conversations over the past few months – collectively carving out their professional niche separate from the traditional houses of fire, police, security, health and academia.

We at Avert feel it’s time for a national source of news creation and dissemination, as well as a platform for experts to share and comment on best practices, lessons learned and strategies to improve the field.

We’ll be sharing daily news stories, regular feature articles that include briefs on past disasters and Q&As with industry experts, submitted opinion pieces (want to contribute? Reach out), multi-media content, and much more.

We’re good at this. Our parent company, Annex Business Media, is Canada’s largest business-to-business publisher with respected titles such as Fire Fighting in Canada, Canadian Security, and Blue Line. We are supported by experienced teams in our editorial, sales, digital, production, and events departments.

Take some time to familiarize yourself with our website, what we’re offering, and follow along through whatever means works for you: subscription (free to qualified industry members), social channels – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter – enewsletters, or by bookmarking our site.

Welcome to the Avert community.

I am looking forward to diving into the world of disaster management, getting to know practitioners, and sharing stories that matter to you.

Our newly assembled editorial advisory board will help steer Avert’s content, and we’ll be sharing Q&As to introduce them over the coming weeks. Sign up for our enewsletter to make sure you don’t miss them.

We want to hear from you, too. Get in touch with our team on our contacts page and find my info below.

Maria Church is a managing editor with Annex Business Media and associate publisher for Avert. She can be reached at, 226-931-1396.


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