How the City is Preparing

Emergency Social Services

Emergency Social Services (ESS) is a municipal emergency response program, which provides for the various short term needs of evacuees and response workers in a disaster or emergency situation. Generally, these short term services (up to 72 hours) are 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 ESS Plan establishes the overall strategy the City will use to provide these temporary services to those affected by an emergency. It indicates where the designated reception centres are located in the community and it outlines the roles and responsibilities of staff, volunteers and assisting agencies.

What is the Role of ESS in a Disaster?
The ESS Program plays an important role in emergency management in B.C. 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

The City of Richmond's Emergency Management Office is working together with local residents, agencies and businesses to increase Richmond's level of emergency preparedness, as well as provide essential needs of people affected by a disaster. Volunteers are the heart of the City's Emergency Programs success. By volunteering, you have the opportunity to give back to the community during an emergency by assisting victims of fires, floods and other major emergencies.  

What Services are Provided by ESS?
ESS provides temporary relief to individuals and families so they can begin to plan their next steps after an emergency.

ESS provides temporary PRIMARY SERVICES such as:

  • food
  • shelter
  • clothing
  • family reunification

ESS may also provide specialized services such as:

  • personal services
  • volunteer services
  • public information
  • first aid
  • child minding
  • pet care
  • transportation services

When is ESS Provided?
Although ESS is designed to provide services to individuals affected by large disasters or emergencies, ESS is also provided during smaller scale emergencies, such as home or apartment fires.

Who Provides ESS?
Volunteers are the backbone of ESS. Group

Volunteers are relied upon in all aspects of an ESS response. Emergency volunteers receive in-depth training to provide: personal assistance to evacuees, play an active role at a reception centre, participate in community special events, attend regular meetings, conduct personal emergency preparedness workshops, and much more.

The Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) provides support for PEP registered volunteers and furnishes the essential legal authority to recognize volunteer group response as a part of the "official" government response. Thus, volunteer responders become eligible for Worker's Compensation Benefits and liability insurance.

The Richmond Emergency Programs supports Richmond ESS volunteers by providing leadership, training and administrative support for ESS teams. Richmond's volunteers are men and women from all walks of life, ranging from high school students to retirees.  In Richmond, there are approximately 120 highly trained and dedicated volunteers who donate their time and energy as part of ESS teams and Amateur Radio communications.

Where is the ESS Office?
The ESS office is located at the City's Operations Yard at 5599 Lynas Lane.

Websites of Affiliated Volunteer Groups
The City of Richmond Emergency Program works closely with many organizations. The web sites of some of the affiliated organizations and societies are provided in our Links page.