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Emergency Social Services


Emergency Social Services (ESS) is a municipal emergency response program that provides for the various short-term needs of evacuees and response workers in a disaster or emergency situation. These short term services (up to 72 hours) are generally required to preserve the emotional and physical well-being of evacuees and response workers affected by an emergency or disaster and are typically provided in a reception centre.

The Program

The ESS program includes the dispatch of staff and volunteers in Surrey to assist evacuees for 72 hours after an emergency. “Services may include food, lodging, clothing, emotional support, information about the crisis, and family reunification. There may also be special services like first aid, child minding, pet care and transportation.” – Province of BC

Role of ESS program:

The ESS Program plays an important role in emergency management in BC by:

  • Helping people to remain independent and self-sufficient
  • Helping people to meet their basic survival needs during a disaster
  • Reuniting family members separated by a disaster
  • Providing people with accurate and up-to-date information about the situation at hand
  • Helping people re-establish themselves as quickly as possible after a disaster
  • Helping a community work through the recovery process

Reception Sites:

Reception Sites are specific locations that open themselves up to accept the arrival of evacuees immediately following an emergency or disaster.