Fort Mac fire puts employers in crisis mode

Communication, transparency critical in emergency: Experts
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/30/2016

For Candace Bernstein, May 3 started out with blue skies and sunshine in Fort McMurray. While she knew there was a forest fire in the area, she was busy working as an HR business partner at the office of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Then the first email came in, around 1:25 pm. It was a press release from her employer telling residents about a temporary evacuation order because of the encroaching fire. Just 30 minutes later, it was a mandatory evacuation.

“I walked to the other side of my building and I looked out the window and panic ensued,” said Bernstein. “All you see is a giant wall of thick, dark smoke and you kind of see the glowing from the flames.”