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Overview. Disaster Social Services. Mandate. Every municipality is mandated under the Emergency Management Act to provide assistance to evacuees in the event of an emergency or disaster. . Emergency Management Act (ALBERTA). SECTION 11(a)

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Every municipality is mandated under the Emergency Management Actto provide assistance to evacuees in the event of an emergency or disaster.


Emergency Management Act(ALBERTA)


“The local authority of each municipality shall, at all times, be responsible for the direction and control of the local authority’s emergency response”


Disaster Social Services (DSS)is a planned emergency response program intended to meet the immediate and long term survival and psychological needs of individuals impacted by an emergency or disaster

mission statement
Mission Statement

Disaster Social Services develops and maintains a comprehensive plan that includes the provision of basic food, clothing, lodging and personalservices in order to care for those evacuated during a disaster

dss activation criteria
DSS Activation Criteria
  • When an evacuation affects 100citizens, the Red Cross Disaster Unit may be called by Calgary Emergency Management to respond to specific needs
  • When an emergency in Calgary affects 100citizens, DSS responds to their needs and may set up a Reception Centre
reception centre
Reception Centre
  • A strategically located centre that has been previously approved by the Lodging Team
  • A one-stop service siteto which people evacuate, and where their immediate basic needs are met by the DSS teams
  • Also serves as a gathering place and information centre


reception centre9
Reception Centre





Registration & Inquiry

DSS delivers these basic services to evacuees at a Reception Centre

who is involved
Who is Involved

Community Organizationsthat have been trained in accordance with the DSS Plan

The City of Calgary’s DSS Team is comprised of two components:

First Responders/DSS Teams(City of Calgary staff)

who is involved11
Who Is Involved

City of Calgary Staff

DSS Director Chris Branch, Director, CNS

DSS Coordinator: Rick Kanik, Manager, Senior Services

Full Time

DSS Planner - Arlene Baxendale

Admin Coordinator – Linda O’Toole

First Responders

Trained City of Calgary employees, who form 10 specialized DSS teams (approx 120)


City of Calgary employees from Community & Neighbourhood Services who are not on a specific DSS team (approx 200)

who is involved12
Who is Involved







Personal Services

Human Resources

Reception CentreManagement


At a Reception Centre, these teams provide DIRECT services to citizens

First Responders are City of Calgary employees who are members of one of these specialized DSS teams:

First Responders

These SUPPORT teams enable the direct services to be delivered effectively

who is involved13
Who is Involved

A Generalist is any City of Calgary employee within Community and Neighbourhood Services who is not a member of a specific DSS team


In a large disaster response, a generalist may be called upon at any time to provide assistance to any of the 10 DSS teams in either a general or specialized capacity

how dss is activated
How DSS is Activated

1. Calgary Emergency Management Contacts the DSS Director

2. DSS DirectorContacts the DSS Coordinator and DSS Planner

3.DSS Coordinator/PlannerDeploys QRAT* to determine the level of response required

4. Once the level of response is determinedand if the DSS teams are required, the DSS Coordinator/Planner initiate the fan-out process

*QRAT = Quick Response Assessment Team This is a specialized group within the DSS Personal Services team

how dss is activated15
How DSS is Activated

Calgary Emergency


DSS Director

DSS Coordinator / Planner


10 DSS Teams

Direct Service Teams



LodgingPersonal Services

Reception Centre Mgmt

Support Teams




Human Resources


dss responses
DSS Responses

Hub Oil Explosion August 1999

Lynwood Ridge June 2001

New York Response (9/11) September 2001

Duralite Fire November 2001

Hazco Fire December 2001

G8 Summit (EOC Only) June 2002

Erlton Fire May 2002

First Church of Christ Scientist Fire June 2002

Century Gardens Fire September 2002

BC Fires August 2003

Edmonton Hail & Flood Disaster July 2004

dss responses17
DSS Responses

Calgary Flood June 2005

Suncourt Place Fire February 2007

Provincial Disaster Recovery Program June 2007

Lakeview Mews Fire July 2007

Dover Seniors Fire August 2008

what to expect
What to Expect
  • Para-Military system(i.e. hierarchical, rule-based, clear line of authority and responsibility)
  • Hectic environment
  • Evacuees who may be traumatized

At a Reception Centre

what to expect19
What to Expect
  • Ensure your own family’s basic needs are met firstAs you will be of no help to evacuees until you are certain your family is taken care of (e.g. child care)
  • Advise your family/employer where you will be
  • Ensure that work responsibilities are covered
  • Realize that 100% of your effort & commitment are required at a Reception Centre If you are unable to provide this, advise your DSS supervisor
  • Never assist any type of disaster response with which you have an emotional attachment (i.e. a family member or friend was a victim of the event)

Responsibilities & Self Care(Before reporting to the Reception Center)

top reasons to get involved
Top Reasons to Get Involved
  • Career Enhancement
  • Corporate and Community recognition
  • Opportunity to “Make a Difference”!
  • Camaraderie and Teamwork
  • Satisfaction of knowing you helped when it was most needed
  • Valuable Courses and Training

Benefits of Joining a Team

training opportunities
Training Opportunities
  • ARES Radio Certification
  • Basic DSS Training
  • Crisis Intervention During Disasters
  • DSS Orientation
  • Emergency Operations Centre (Levels 1 & 2)
  • First Aid: Emergency Level
  • Mock Disaster Exercises
  • Personal Disaster Preparedness
  • Train the Trainer (Tabletop exercises)
  • Local and National Conferences
The work of Disaster Social Services touches the lives of all Calgarians

DSS is prepared and committed to helping those in need during times of disaster

Your involvement is important towards ensuring that DSS can respond effectively when disasters occur

how to get involved
How to Get Involved


Arlene Baxendale

DSS Planner

(403) 268-3543