Emergency Social Services

Emergency Social Services

Emergency Social Services (ESS) help preserve the well-being of British Columbians during or immediately following an emergency.  The ESS program helps people affected by large emergencies, but may also assist during smaller emergencies such as house fires or disasters affecting a few members of a community.  When people are forced to evacuate their homes, the ESS program will often direct them to reception centres or group lodging facilities.

Volunteers are needed to staff various positions in different areas in a reception centre.  Some of these areas include: meet & greet, food services, transportation, information, translation services, front line assistance, security, first aid, family reunification, child care, pet care, recreation, emotional support, logistics and administrative support.

A Reception Centre is a facility or location that can be used for many different purposes, such as gathering during temporary displacement, information sharing, or a staging site for volunteer disaster relief workers.

As a volunteer with ESS we ask that you:

  • Be an advocate for emergency preparedness
  • Be personally prepared for an emergency
  • Assist in set-up and take down of Emergency Reception Centre
  • Perform duties as indicated through training or areas of interest
  • Ensure needs of evacuees are met
  • Complete and submit required paperwork
  • Perform assigned duties, as required

Upcoming Training

Please register for the Training through the links to Eventbrite under each course heading.

For more information on the courses offered through Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) please click here.


EMRG 1645 - Managing Walk-in Disaster Volunteers - Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm



EMRG 1671 - ESS Site Management - Sunday, January 27, 2019 from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm


For more information on upcoming training email admin@oliver.ca.

Emergency Social Services Directors Course

The ESSD course is the highest level of ESS training available and is reserved for those who are in, or are preparing for a leadership position with their team. 

Applicants must have obtained the following course prerequisites prior to attending the course (you can still apply, must have complete before the course date):

EMRG-1600 Introduction to Emergency Social Services (online)

EMRG-1610 Introduction to reception Centres (online)

EMRG-1100 Introduction to Emergency Management (online)

Hot Topics