Emergency Support Services

Emergency Support Services (ESS) is seeking volunteers!

Throughout the province, thousands of ESS volunteers train and prepare so that when an emergency or disaster affects their community they are ready to help. ESS volunteers are trained to provide for the immediate needs of evacuees and emergency responders affected by an emergency or disaster. Services provided by ESS include food, clothing, lodging and family reunification. ESS volunteers also gain valuable personal preparedness skills, which can assist them and their family in times of a disaster.

Both the municipal government and the provincial government play an important role in planning for ESS, but the real recognition must go to the volunteers who prepare for a disaster on an ongoing basis. The dedication ensures that when a disaster strikes our community there are people trained to help make a difference.

The Bowen Island ESS Team has a solid base of dedicated volunteers, however as people move and family obligations change, there is always a need for more energetic and enthusiastic individuals to join the ESS team. The qualities necessary in an ESS volunteer include:

•    A concern for people affected by disaster
•    Good communication skills
•    Ability to work well in a team

If you interested in becoming an ESS volunteer, the Bowen Island ESS Team would like to hear from you. Download a volunteer form.


Emergency Support Services (ESS) provides short term assistance to British Columbians who are forced to leave their homes because of fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies. Assistance may include food, lodging, clothing, emotional support and family reunification services. ESS may also provide specialized services such as first aid, child minding, pet care and transportation.

Typically a reception center would be set up as a central base for evacuees. This could be a school gym, church or any other large building in the community that would be a safe place for people to gather. A list and map of potential Bowen Island Reception Centres is available here. It is critical that you check the municipal website and/ or listen to local radio during an emergency to determine which reception centre(s) have been opened. Please contact the Emergency Program Coordinator at jmcgowan@bimbc.ca if you have questions or concerns about Reception Centres. 

ESS is available for 72 hours. During the first 72 hours, evacuees should immediately plan their next steps by contacting their insurance agents, families, or local non-profit agencies.

ESS is based on volunteerism and is dependent on the willingness of individuals in the community to help plan for the wellbeing of their neighbors in the event of a disaster. Although ESS is designed to provide services to individuals affected by large complex disasters or emergencies, ESS may also be provided during smaller emergencies; for example a single house fire or emergencies affecting 1 or 2 families in a community. To volunteer, please complete and return a volunteer form

If you are interested in reading the Bowen Island Emergency Support Services Plan, it is available here

Minutes from the April 12, 2017 meeting are available here

For more information, please contact:

Carolyn McDonald
Bowen Island ESS Director
604 947-2517

Jennifer McGowan
Bowen Island Emergency Program Coordinator