Volunteer Spotlight | Emergency Support Services

News Article

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is shining a spotlight on Emergency Support Services (ESS) volunteers for their important contributions. ESS is a provincially-funded program that enables regional, municipal, and Indigenous governments to deliver critical services to the community during an emergency. The program is dependent on volunteers.

ESS volunteers help their neighbors and communities during disasters such as landslides, fires, and floods. Within the RDOS, ESS provides basic support (food, clothing, and lodging) to people impacted by disasters for up to 72 hours. Volunteers have received training through the Justice Institute of British Columbia. They are ready to deploy at any time, often with little notice. As evacuees have unique needs, the volunteers are problem solvers required to work within program guidelines to find the best solution for each situation.

ESS teams throughout the South Okanagan and Similkameen work together as needed to increase their capacity to assist residents. ESS volunteers also work closely with the Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team (ALERT), which is tasked with protecting animals during emergencies by transporting them to temporary shelters.

Uniting families with each other and their pets and providing access to food, dry clothing, and a safe place to stay are just a few of the important contributions made by these extraordinary volunteers. There are currently more than 50 ESS volunteers across the region, and the RDOS is always seeking additional support.

Volunteerism is critical in helping the RDOS strive towards its goal of “Healthy Individuals and Communities.”

To learn more about RDOS volunteer opportunities, including the ESS volunteer program, please visit the RDOS website.


Mark Pendergraft, Chair
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen


Nancy Wigley
RDOS Volunteer Coordinator

Jessica Browne

RDOS Communications



RDOS Communications
Toll-Free 1-877-610-3737