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Emergency Social Services (ESS) provides short-term assistance for individuals and families affected by an emergency or disaster so they can plan their next steps. Reception centres (RC) are locations designated by the local ESS team, in cooperation with the local authority, as safe gathering places for people displaced from their homes as a result of an emergency or disaster. At the RC, individuals can register and receive shortterm services as well as information about the emergency situation.Reception centres have sometimes been referred to as evacuation centres, registration centres, disaster relief centres or family centres. The term reception centre describes the initial function of the centre – to receive evacuees who are forced from their homes as a result of an emergency or disaster.In order for an ESS team to effectively respond to a disaster, considerable planning must be completed in the pre-disaster phase. The ESS plan is part of the local emergency management plan and usually includes lists of local suppliers who have agreed to provide resources in the event of a disaster. Sites to be used for RCs are identified during the pre-disaster planning phase, as well as contingency plans to deal with potential issues such as power outages, water shortages and lack of resources.Services Provided at a Reception Centre ESS requires management and administrative skills balanced with a great deal of understanding, caring and empathy in order to provide both evacuees and ESS responders with the needed resources. Services may be provided at the site for small-scale events or at the RC for larger responses and may include those described below.• Register evacuees, take inquiries about people’s safety and whereabouts, and assist in reuniting families (Family Reunification)• Referrals for Food, Clothing and Lodging• Emotional Support• Information• Transportation• Volunteer Services• Communications• First Aid• Health Services• Pet Services• Child Care• Multicultural ServicesFor more information concerning Red Deer County’s Reception Centres, please contact the Emergency Management Department at 403.348.2036.