Emergency Support Service Responder Guides & Manuals

These are resources that have been specifically curated to help Emergency Support Service (ESS) responders with the information and processes to complete their duties.


COVID-19 Guidance for ESS Responders

To protect responders, essential service workers and evacuees during COVID-19, we've provided some modified guidance for First Nation Governments and Local Authorities.


Branding Guide & Logos

The ESS branding guide provides instruction for use of the ESS logo. This is part of the re-branding strategy that began when the Provincial ESS Program was officially renamed in April 2019. Download the ESS logos zip folder for a variety of file types.

ESS Branding guide (PDF)  Download ESS logos (ZIP)


Code of Conduct

The Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer Code of Conduct defines the rights and responsibilities of volunteers. Volunteers must read the code and complete a Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer Registration form (available from your ESS team leader) before assisting with an emergency response operation.


ESS Level One

A Level One emergency is a local event that can be managed using a smaller number of resources.

The Level One Emergency Support Services (ESS) Supervisor Guidelines (PDF) offers:

  • An overview of a supervisor’s responsibilities;
  • Suggested training and experience for the position; and
  • A list of aids.

You are free to change the guidelines to meet the emergency planning needs of your community.


ESS Field Guide

The ESS Field Guide (PDF, 4.5 MB) provides information about how emergency social services (ESS) are delivered, and clarifies procedures and guidelines for local authorities and ESS teams.

ESS Directors should keep a copy of the guide. Copies of the guide should also be kept at all reception centres and by Level One responders. The ESS Office will communicate amendments by email.


Reception Centre 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.

Referral Unit Supervisor's Guide

Referral Units operate at reception centres during large disasters but can also be active in effected communities during Level One emergencies.

Referral Units connect British Columbians forced from their homes by emergencies with the food, lodging, clothing, emotional support, family reunification and other services they may require.

The Referral Unit Supervisor's Guide (PDF, 1.5 MB) offers your team tools and tips for:

  • Tracking resources
  • Identifying evacuees
  • Scheduling volunteers’ shifts
  • Completing referral forms
  • Billeting

Documentation Unit Supervisors Guide

Documentation Units often operate at reception centre during large disasters but may also be active in effected communities during Level One emergencies.

Documentation Units record information about British Columbians forced from their homes by emergencies.

The Documentation Unit Supervisor's Guide (PDF, 1.3 MB) offers your team tools and tips for:

  • Implementing and operating a unit
  • Distributing, collecting and reviewing forms
  • Reuniting families
  • Gathering and collating statistics

Group Lodging 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.


Maximizing Stress Resilience

Organizations, agencies and businesses can use the Maximizing Stress Resilience Manual (PDF) as a tool to assess whether or not a new emergency social services recruit will cope during a disaster.

Current responders may also find the manual useful, especially these sections:

  • Trauma and Disaster Work: A Self-Assessment
  • Your Health and Disasters.

The manual was developed by the British Columbia Disaster Worker Care Committee, with the support of the Emergency Support Services Office and the ESS Advisory Committee.