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Emergency Support Services
Emergency Support Services in Cowichan

Emergency Support Services are part of a provincial program which is delivered by local governments and First Nations. When residents of the Cowichan region are evacuated from their homes due to an emergency such as a house fire, wildfire, flood, hazardous materials situation, the Cowichan Emergency Support Services (ESS) team can be activated by emergency responders to provide evacuees with short-term basic-needs assistance. The Cowichan ESS Team provides services for the Town of Lake Cowichan, the Town of Ladysmith, the City of Duncan, the Municipality of North Cowichan, the Electoral Areas of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and also supports many of the First Nations in the region.

Where it is needed, Cowichan ESS provides evacuees with support to meet their basic needs as they transition towards recovery. Evacuees generally receive support for the first 72 hours after an evacuation. This support may include:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Lodging
  • Essential Transportation
  • Emergency Prescription Medication
  • Incidentals
  • Emotional / Cultural Support

Evacuees must register with Cowichan ESS team to receive referrals to vendors where they can receive support. Emergency Support Services are provided to all levels of emergencies and can be delivered at or near the site of the incident or at a designated reception centre.

Reception Centres

Where many homes or communities may need to evacuate, the partners of EMC will provide reception centres. A Reception Centre is a safe gathering place, often centralized in a community, where evacuees can register for Emergency Support Services as well as receive critical information about the emergency situation.

The Primary Reception Centres in the Cowichan Region may include:

  1. Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, Lake Cowichan 311 S Shore Rd, Lake Cowichan, BC V0R 2G0
  2. Cowichan Community Centre, Duncan, 2687 James St, Duncan, BC V9L 2X5
  3. Frank Jameson Community Centre, Ladysmith, 810 6 Ave, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A2
  4. Kerry Park Recreation Centre, Mill Bay, 1035 Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Rd, Mill Bay, BC V0R 2P2

If you are evacuated or an evacuation alert is issued for your community, stay tuned to local media or sign up now for Cowichan Alert, for the location of an open reception centre – as not all centres above may be operating.

Information During a Large Evacuation

Critical information during an evacuation will be provided at Reception Centres. Some information may also be available on local news and radio. The most current information will be available on our emergency info page.

Major updates will be issued through Cowichan Alert including

  • Evacuation Alert
  • Evacuation Order
  • Evacuation Rescind
  • Shelter in Place /Shelter in Community Instructions
I’ve been evacuated, what do I do?

In the event of an evacuation order, you must leave the area immediately and as directed. Failing to leave when asked by emergency responders puts you and others at risk. When an evacuation order is issued please do the following:

  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes to help protect from unforeseen hazards.
  • Collect family members or go to the place designated in your family plan as a meeting place.
  • Take pets in kennels or on a leash; do not leave them behind. Follow your plan to go to a relative or friend’s home, or find a pet-friendly hotel as pets are not permitted in reception centres.
  • Grab your emergency kit and follow the directions to the identified reception centre.
  • Follow the routes specified by emergency officials.
  • Take critical items already in your kit (medicine, purse, wallet and keys).
  • Close all doors and windows. Close and latch gates, but do not lock them.
  • Take a cellphone if you have one.
  • If there is time and it is safe to do so, shut off water at the main line into your home and switch off electricity at the breaker panel. Leave natural gas service “on.”
  • Stay well away from any downed power lines.
  • Register at a reception centre or online so you can be contacted or reunited with family and loved ones.
  • Contact your out-of-area emergency contact (identified in your personal emergency plan) to let them know what has happened, that you are alright and how to contact you. Alert them to any separated family members.

Local authority officials will advise when it is safe to return home.

Current Burning Permissions
Open burning—or burning outdoors—is allowed when the wildfire risk is low and can be a useful tool when conducted responsibly. Open burning includes Category 1 campfire, Category 2 and Category 3 open fire.
Regional Water Use Restrictions
During drought conditions, your water system operator may introduce water use restrictions to conserve limited water supplies. There are four stages of water restrictions which are coordinated across the Cowichan Valley. Local conditions may sometimes require a higher stage of water restrictions on certain systems.
No Restrictions
Stage 1 Restrictions
Stage 2 Restrictions
Stage 3 Restrictions
Stage 4 Restrictions