Evacuations and Emergency Social Services


An emergency evacuation may be necessary if your community is facing a significant threat. If this happens, community members will need information about evacuation procedures and temporary lodging until the emergency situation subsides.

There are two types of evacuations that may occur at the time of an emergency event:

  1. Tactical – when a first response agency (police, fire, wildfire management branch) directs a person to leave a location where there is a present or imminent emergency that requires prompt actions to protect the health, safety and/or welfare of people.
  2. Ordered – where the community leaders in collaboration with subject matter experts have determined the necessity to evacuate an identified area to protect the health, safety and/or welfare of people from a present or imminent emergency.

Tactical Evacuation Process:

In the event of an imminent threat, the local police/RCMP, fire services and/or any other authorized/designated first response agency, (i.e.: Wildfire Management Branch), will perform an immediate evacuation of the affected area and direct you to leave the area.

Ordered Evacuation Process:

In the event of an emergency requiring an Evacuation Order by Chief and Council, it is most likely that an evacuation alert has been issued in the surrounding area, allowing some time for the community to prepare for the possibility of an evacuation. First Nations should:

  • Contact Emergency Management British Columbia (EMBC) to discuss the threat and potential evacuation;
  • Through a Band Council Resolution (BCR) declare a "State of Local Emergency", including the reason (i.e.: flooding, fire (wildfire/Urban Interface);
  • Issue an Evacuation Order detailing the area to be evacuated and submit the BCR and Evacuation Order to EMBC to advise of actions taken and to the RCMP/local police for implementation of the evacuation order;
  • Implement the community's all-hazards emergency management plan and follow the evacuation procedures;
  • Identify and create a list of Priority 1 community members (i.e: elders and persons that require any special assistance); and
  • Identify emergency personnel to help coordinate the registration of evacuees at the designated Emergency Social Services (ESS) Reception Centre.

Once the evacuation has occurred all evacuees should report to the designated ESS Reception Centre in order to register as an impacted but safe member of the community.

Chief and Council, the Emergency Program Coordinator or other emergency personnel should provide the ESS Reception Centre location, or you can contact EMBC to identify the nearest ESS Reception Centre location. Information may also be provided by local media and social media so be sure to listen to your local radio station.

Emergency Social Services

Once your community has been evacuated, it will be important to know where community members can register for ESS. Individuals who are unable to reach home as a consequence of the evacuation may also be provided with ESS.

ESS is intended to meet the immediate (72 hours) and basic needs of those affected by the emergency through the provision of food, lodging, transportation and incidentals. Longer term needs will be determined based on the circumstances of the situation.

In order to receive ESS services and support, all evacuees must register with ESS. Even if you do not require ESS, it is strongly advised that you register at the Reception Centre so that your whereabouts are known. Friends and family members will want to know that you are safe and away from the emergency or disaster area. This is called Family Reunification and is a very important service of ESS.

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