Volunteer for ESS (Emergency Support Services)

Residents forced from their homes by fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies may receive emergency support services for up to 72 hours. ESS is a community based emergency service, primarily provided by community volunteers, partner agencies and supported by the local government and Emergency Management BC.  ESS provides care for persons either displaced from their homes or persons who are confined to their homes by disasters. 


  • Identify potential reception centres and group lodging sites
  • Recruit and train volunteers
  • Maintain resource contact lists
  • Work with local businesses, service organizations and government agencies
  • Plan for the essential needs of evacuees. This may include food, shelter, clothing, emotional support and family reunification.
  • Support other emergency responders such as Search and Rescue


ESS is looking for volunteers who:

  • Have compassion for people affected by disaster
  • Have good communication skills
  • Are able to respond on short notice
  • Are flexible and work well as part of a team
  • Have a sense of adventure
  • Have good organizational skills


  • Training is offered locally through the Justice Institute of BC


  • Volunteers form the backbone of ESS. You’ll meet and train with interesting people, and  be part of an organization that makes a difference
  • ESS volunteers receive Work Safe and liability insurance while on assignment


During an evacuation evacuees may be requested to register at a local ESS Reception Centre. ESS volunteers staff the centre and provide services such as information, food, shelter, clothing, emotional support, and family reunification. 


Anyone may have to evacuate their home for any number of reasons. Make sure you have a plan. Know where you’ll go and how to contact your family members. Have a Grab-and- go bag packed for each family member and pets. For more information on what goes in a Grab-and-go bag and personal preparedness go to: gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC.

The content on this page was last updated January 21 2016 at 2:50 PM