Community Services Emergency Response Plan

Helping displaced citizens during an emergency

Losing your home, even if it's temporary can be a traumatic experience for anyone.

These situations in large emergencies may activate the Region of Waterloo's Community Services Emergency Response Plan. This plan exists to ensure that the following are immediately provided to the citizens in need:

  • Emergency Shelter
  • Registration and inquiry
  • Lodging
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Personal services

The First Response Protocol

During a smaller emergency that involves fewer than 50 people being displaced from their homes, fire departments or police automatically contact the Canadian Red Cross to activate the First Response Protocol to provide assistance to those who need it as quickly as possible.


The Canadian Red Cross provides each individual with a personal comfort kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, socks/underwear) as well as certificates for food.  Additionally, the Grand River Transit may be called upon to provide buses for temporary shelter or transportation for displaced individuals.

Lutherwood and John Howard Society Housing Help Centres, may also assist individuals who have been displaced from their home due to an emergency to find alternate accommodations.

In the past year, the First Response Protocol has assisted people that have been evacuated from their homes due to fires, evictions and spills. The First Response Protocol is an effective partnership that ensures the citizens of Waterloo Region are kept safe in emergency situations.

Whether it's a flood, fire, gas leak, explosion, utility disruption or public health concern, all partners are ready and prepared to assist.