What is Emergency Support Services?
Emergency Support Services (ESS) provides short-term assistance to British Columbians who are forced to leave their homes because of fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies.
ESS is a community-based provincial emergency response program designed to assist those affected by an emergency or disaster, whether that be a single house fire or a major disaster involving mass evacuations.
The goal of ESS is to help people begin to re-establish themselves as quickly as possible after a disaster. ESS plays an important role in Emergency Management in BC by:
~ Helping people to remain independent and self-sufficient
~ Helping people meet their basic survival needs during a disaster
~ Reuniting families separated by disaster
~ Providing people affected by disaster with accurate and up-to-date information
When is ESS Provided?
Although ESS is designed to provide services to individuals affected by large complex disasters or emergencies, ESS may also be provided during smaller emergencies; for example a single house fire or emergencies affecting 1 to 2 families in a community. The program is available for 72 hours after the disaster or emergency occurs. During these first 72 hours, evacuees should immediately plan their next steps by contacting their insurance agents, families and friends or accessing other possible resources.
Who Provides ESS?
In BC, local authorities and First Nations are responsible for planning and operating ESS as part of their overall emergency plan. More than 150 municipalities in BC have an ESS team. Approximately 5000 volunteers donate their time and energy as members of ESS teams located in communities throughout BC and in our region, municipal staff is also involved in providing services.
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