Emergency Social Services

British Columbians forced from their homes by fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies may receive emergency social services for up to 72 hours. Services may include food, lodging, clothing, emotional support, information about the crisis, and family reunification. There may also be special services like first aid, child minding, pet care and transportation.

Under the Emergency Program Act, municipalities, First Nations communities and regional districts are responsible for responding to emergencies in their areas, including providing emergency social services.

They often depend on volunteers to plan and provide these services, including:

  • Identifying locations for reception centres and group lodging;
  • Finding other volunteers;  
  • Working with local businesses, service organizations and government agencies;
  • Housing and feeding people forced from their homes;
  • Providing services to people who are unable to leave their homes; and
  • Supporting other emergency responders.

Each year about 5,000 British Columbians volunteer as emergency social service workers.

Being Personally Prepared - Insurance

In many cases evacuees' homeowners or tenant insurance will provide greater support than what is available through public aid (like private accommodations). Urge evacuees to consult with their insurers to see what is available to them.