If a community is evacuated due to flood, toxic spill, wildfire, earthquake, or similar calamity, where do people go? Who will provide food and temporary accommodations for them when it is unsafe for them to be in their home or community? How will family members find each other? Where will people get the necessary information and support they need?

During a disaster response, each of the emergency response agencies will be activated to carry out their specific emergency roles. The community emergency plan outlines the emergency roles of local law enforcement, fire and rescue, ambulance, emergency support services (ESS), transportation, utilities, and others. For ESS, the specific emergency role is providing care for evacuees and in some cases, responders.

When an evacuation is ordered, people will need a safe place to gather to receive vital information about the disaster (e.g., how long they can expect to be out of their homes, how to access services, are there any health implications to be aware of, clean up procedures, etc). This safe place for evacuees to gather is called a reception centre.

  • Description of Learning Materials

    Learn about the basic functions of a reception centre during emergencies or disasters.  These learning materials cover the fundamentals for ESS responders who may be called upon to work in, or support the activities at a reception centre.

  • Learning Materials Goal

    The purpose of these learning materials is to prepare ESS responders for working in local facilities designated as reception centres.

  • Learning Outcomes

    After you finish reviewing all of these learning materials, you will be able to:

    • Describe the services in a reception centre
    • Explain the roles and responsibilities of the functions in a reception centre
    • Outline how to set-up and work in a reception centre
    • Plan for self care
  • Prerequisites

    The prerequisite for these learning materials is:


These learning materials may be used in conjunction with the Reception Centre Operational Guidelines (RCOG) and ESS Field Guide as references at the reception centre
Check out the Resources page under 'Tools' for the links to the RCOG and ESS Field Guide

Click on the ‘Modules” button to continue.