Special Care Emergency Preparedness Association of Nova Scotia

"Plan for the worst, hope for the best"


Emergency Social Services

Posted by anonymous on March 2, 2014 at 1:35 PM

The following is an overview of Emergency Social Services provided through the DCS.  Thank you to Joanne Lawlor who provided this information, and is an Advisory Member and great supporter of SCEPA.


The Department of Community Services' Emergency Social Services (ESS) program is part of a province-wide emergency preparedness network that plans for the unexpected. This may include preparing for natural disasters, such as major storms, hurricanes or floods, technological or environmental accidents such as chemical spills, power failures due to adverse weather conditions, and major urban or forest fires.


The responsibility for emergency preparedness is dictated by the Emergency Management Act of Nova Scotia; and overseen by the Emergency Management Office of Nova Scotia (EMO NS). Within the Emergency Management Act, every municipality in the province must have an emergency response plan and a designated Emergency Management Coordinator. The Department of Community Services is responsible for coordinating the province-wide Emergency Social Services component, in cooperation with EMO NS and each municipality in the province.


Emergency Social Services

When a "state of emergency" is declared in an area of Nova Scotia or when a large emergency happens that requires some aspect of Emergency Social Services, a Reception Centre(s) or Shelter(s) can be set up for displaced individuals, where any combination of the following services can be obtained:


• Emergency food

• Emergency lodging

• Emergency clothing

• Registration and inquiry

• Personal services for those affected by a disaster (care of pets, medications, children, etc.)

• Reception Centre/shelter management


Designated personnel within the Department of Community Services are assigned to coordinate these services and include a full time Director of Emergency Social Services, two alternate Directors, four Regional Emergency Social Services Coordinators, plus 13 Alternates, who have these responsibilities in addition to their regular duties within the department.


In the province of Nova Scotia, the Department of Community Services has an agreement with the Canadian Red Cross, to assist the Department with the provision of Emergency Social Services, when an emergency event involves 10 houses or apartment units or 25 people. As part of this provincial agreement, the Red Cross recruits and trains volunteers to respond on behalf of the province. The Red Cross is contacted by first responders or by Emergency Management Office personnel through their 1-800 number.


Nova Scotia was the first province to enter into an agreement with the Red Cross; and since the agreement was signed in 2000, several additional provinces have also contracted the Canadian Red Cross to assist with emergency events.


The Red Cross also partners with other community groups, such as the Salvation Army, St. John Ambulance, Feed NS, local food banks, SCEPA, etc. in advance of emergencies, and these relationships are key to an effective coordinated emergency response.


Categories: General Information

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