Local authorities and First Nations are responsible for ESS responses within their jurisdiction. In most communities, local ESS teams made up of volunteers, municipal or regional district staff, and members of existing community service organizations plan for and deliver ESS. A community’s EPC ensures the appointment of an ESS Director. Some local authorities may appoint a municipal employee as ESS Director, while others may recruit a volunteer to fulfill this role.
An ESS Director recruits volunteers to be responsible for each of the ESS functions, (e.g., Referrals for Food, Clothing & Lodging, Emotional Support, First Aid, etc.). These volunteers come together to form the ESS Planning Committee.
Supervisors for each service recruit sufficient individuals or members of community organizations to share the responsibility for the ESS planning process and to respond on a 24-hour basis if required.
ESS is based on function—in a small community, a team of five or six people may be able to provide all of the required ESS. For example, a small team may be able to register evacuees and ensure they have necessary clothing, toiletries, food, and a place to stay. Even if the evacuees require medical assistance, support from a member of the clergy, or short-term shelter for their pets, a small team of ESS responders may be able to arrange for these services.
In a large community where thousands of people are affected by an emergency or disaster, many ESS responders may be required to provide the basic services to evacuees. Even greater numbers of ESS responders may be required to assist evacuees with specialized services such as childcare or pet services.
When a local authority ESS Team is overwhelmed, they would make calls for support for mutual assistance from neighbouring communities. When mutual assistance resources are insufficient provincial ESS assistance should be requested from the Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre.
A community’s overall Emergency Response Plan outlines the emergency roles of all response agencies, including law enforcement, fire & rescue, emergency medical services, ESS, utilities, and others. Senior officials from each of these response groups generally form the community’s Emergency Management Organization or Emergency Planning Committee. They are tasked with developing and implementing plans and measures in emergencies and disasters. The ESS Director represents the ESS team.
Figure 2-8: Local Authority/Provincial Emergency Management Office Relationship