Emergency Support Service Delivery

Based on need and circumstances of the emergency, emergency support services (ESS) may be offered to an evacuee for a short period of time, normally up to 72 hours. Services may be available for an extended period depending on the emergency and the circumstances of an evacuation. 

Primary services provided by ESS are:

  • Temporary lodging (determined on a case-by-case basis)
  • Food
  • Clothing and incidentals (such as toiletries)

Specialized services that may be coordinated on a case-by-case basis:

  • Emotional support
  • First aid and other health services
  • Pet care
  • Transportation

How ESS is Delivered

ESS is delivered locally by First Nations Governments and Local Authorities. Services are provided to people facing the consequences of a disaster through:

  • Curbside support
  • Opening reception centers
  • Registering evacuees (both online or in-person)
  • Providing referrals to meet basic needs
  • Reimbursing suppliers

Online Delivery

We created the Evacuee Registration & Assistance (ERA) tool to increase the efficiency and speed of service delivery for evacuees.

ERA Tool

Paper Forms

Not all communities use ERA and there are times when technology fails; for these reasons, paper forms are available for the same functions.

Order Paper Forms


Level One Emergencies

A Level One emergency is a localized event that can be managed using a minimal number of ESS resources (for example a single house fire). Response may include providing the same emergency support services that are available in large emergencies, including setting-up and operating reception centres and group lodging.


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
  • Primary and specialized services

ESS responders identify appropriate locations for reception centres and operate them in an emergency. Reception centres are often located in community centres, recreation centres, churches, schools, or a tent depending on what is available in the community.

Reception centres are opened depending on the size of the emergency and the number of volunteers or facilities available. 

Operational Guidelines

The Reception Centre Operational Guidelines (PDF, 5.6 MB) offer direction to reception centre workers. They include the principles, organizational structure, checklists, forms and instructions necessary to operate a reception centre.


Group Lodging

People forced from their homes in an emergency may be directed to group lodging facilities when commercial lodging is either not appropriate or unavailable. Group lodging is a safe place where people can go to:

  • Sleep and eat
  • Receive specialized care, including multicultural services and transportation
  • Obtain health services such as first aid and emotional support

The opening of group lodging depends on many factors including the size of the emergency, the availability of commercial lodging, and the number of volunteers. Your local ESS Director or Emergency Program Coordinator will decide when and where to open group lodging. Evacuees would register for group lodging support at a reception centre.

Operational Guidelines

The Group Lodging Operational Guidelines (PDF, 1.6 MB) offers suggestions and support for group lodging facility workers. They include the principles, organizational structure, checklists, forms and instructions necessary to operate a group lodging facility.