Carolyn McDonald, ESS Director

Edward Wachtman, NERP co-lead coordinator

ESS member, Rob Pineau

ESS volunteer, Jayne McMillan

AED maintenance team, Amanda Ockeloen


Bowen Island Undercurrent article “Bowen ESS member answers volunteer call after B.C. fire

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. More information about this Provincial program is available on the Province of BC’s website.

Typically a reception center would be set up as a central base for evacuees in the event of an emergency that forces people from their homes. 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 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.

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

ESS Monthly Meetings  

ESS meets on a monthly basis, currently via zoom. All are welcome, please contact the ESS Director and let us know you’re coming! 

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 and submit it by e-mail to

To undertake a criminal record check, please visit this webpage:
and use this access code: 97W9LK5MYD

ESS Suppliers

Bowen Island’s Emergency Plan depends on dedicated local business and organizations who are committed to supporting our community during a local emergency where people are evacuated from their home (e.g. a house fire or a larger scale disaster).  

A wide variety of on-island suppliers of goods and services are needed. Having businesses sign up in advance helps ESS act quickly during an emergency.

The following summarizes features of our ESS Supplier Consent Program:

  • A wide variety of suppliers of goods/services are needed to enlist by signing a Supplier Consent to achieve our emergency preparedness goal, especially businesses that can provide emergency lodging (with or without cooking facilities).
  • Any business or local organization can request to become a Supplier for our ESS program. As a Supplier of required goods/services, the business would pre-enroll by signing a Supplier Consent form with Bowen Island’s ESS to offer their goods and/or services to ESS if/when called upon during an emergency evacuation/disaster.
  • If the Supplier is unable to provide the goods or service due to the timing or lack of capacity, there are no negative consequences to the business.
  • The Supplier Consent does not constitute a legal agreement.
  • There is no cost to be part of Bowen Island’s ESS Supplier Program.
  • Goods and services are provided are in accordance with provincial rates and guidelines.
  • Suppliers are requested to invoice at their best rate for government business.
  • The business is reimbursed by the Province of British Columbia directly once an invoice is submitted for processing.
  • Circumstances are understandably subject to change and for this reason all Supplier Consents are reviewed annually.
  • Businesses who support ESS by signing a Supplier Consent form (or a Memorandum of Understanding) may use our “Proud to Support ESS” branded signage on a window or website in recognition of the business’s support to our community’s Emergency Program.

For more information contact Carolyn McDonald, ESS Director, by email at

Emergency Support Services Newsletters

Pet Preparedness

ESS encourages residents to prepare for emergencies, and that includes our pets! 


For more information, please contact:

Carolyn McDonald
Bowen Island ESS Director
604 947-2517

Tess Taylor
Emergency Program Coordinator
604-947-4255 ext. 245