Reception Centres

People who are forced to evacuate their homes in an emergency may be directed to a reception centre. A reception centre is a safe place where people can go to receive:

  • Information about the emergency;
  • Assistance meeting their basic needs;
  • Help planning their recovery from the disaster; and
  • Other primary and specialized services.

Identifying appropriate locations for reception centres and operating them in an emergency are among your most important duties as an Emergency Social Services (ESS) team.

A reception centre is a facility or location that can be used for many different purposes, such as gathering and information place, a staging site for volunteer disaster relief workers or an emergency daycare, for example.

Centres are often located in community centres, recreation centres, churches, or schools, and could even be located in a tent depending on what is available in the community.

Whether or not a reception centre is opened depends on many factors including the size of the emergency and the number of volunteers or facilities available. Your local ESS Director or Emergency Program Coordinator will decide when and where to open a reception centre.

Depending on the emergency and your community’s plan, you could work in a variety of roles at the reception centre, including:

  • Reception Centre Manager;
  • Safety Officer;
  • Information Officer; or
  • Logistics Section Chief.

For detailed information about receptions centres, see our ESS Reception Centre Operational Guidelines.

Reception Centre Training

The Justice Institute of British Columbia’s (JIBC) course Introduction to Reception Centres prepares ESS volunteers to work in facilities designated as reception centres. Course topics include:

  • Reception centre services;
  • Roles and responsibilities in a reception centre;
  • Reception centre set-up; and
  • Worker care planning.

For more information about emergency social services training, please see the JIBC’s Emergency Social Services web pages.