Emergency Support Services

We train this team of more than 70 volunteers to respond to our residents’ immediate needs in small or large-scale emergencies. Emergency Support Services (ESS) volunteers may provide services to evacuees in a Reception Centre during larger emergencies, or “curb-side” for smaller events.

Currently Saanich ESS volunteers are training on the new Evacuee Registration and Assistance (ERA) tool as part of the ESS Modernization Project. The Level One team is fully trained and ready to respond using technology to support evacuees in a more efficient way. For more information about ESS Modernization and the ERA tool click here.

Using the ERA tool, Saanich's ESS team is able to provide virtual support to evacuees elsewhere in the Province, through the activation of a virtual reception centre. A virtual reception centre allows our Program and trained responders to utilize technology to contact evacuees directly from Saanich and provide supports to individuals who have been evacuated as a result of an emergency,  such as a wildfire or flood.

ESS Level One

The ESS Level One team includes members from our larger ESS team, and are available to respond 24/7. These volunteers support residents in small-scale emergencies like residential fires, to help find temporary shelter, food, clothing and information.


You don’t need any certifications to join us! You’ll learn everything you need to know about ESS through training and exercising. The Justice Institute of British Columbia provides much of the training. Courses offered include Reception Centre, Group Lodging, Registration and Referrals and Resource Acquisition. You can study the first few courses online to get a solid base for in-class learning.

Get Involved

If you are adaptable and willing to learn, you’re just like our ESS volunteers. ESS is the people side of emergency response so you need to have a genuine interest in people and supporting them. Almost everything we do in ESS is team based and requires a spirit of cooperation. Learn more about our Intake Process.

Our dedicated ESS volunteers meet monthly on Monday evenings. Their exercises and training often take place on Saturdays.