B.C. gives $6.2 million to volunteer and composite fire departments
By Government of British ColumbiaHeadlines News firefighters funding volunteers
Jan. 12, 2024, British Columbia – More than 200 volunteer and composite fire departments in British Columbia are set to receive more than $6.2 million for hands-on training, new equipment, and mental health support.
The funding comes from the province’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF) and will be provided to local governments, First Nations, and volunteer and composite fire departments for various projects, such as:
- Creating a mental-health peer-support team for all 15 of the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s volunteer fire departments, including a four-day critical-incident stress-management course to help firefighters better deal with the pressures of the job;
- Upgrading and replacing equipment, and purchasing new equipment, including a quick-connect deluge gun, which will help put out fires quickly with limited personnel, for the Sandspit Volunteer Fire Department;
- New relay tanks to increase water-supply capabilities, improve refill time and replace older gear for the Skeetchestn Fire Department; and
- Hands-on training, personnel and demonstration props, such as fire-window simulators, thermal imaging cameras and rescue mannequins, for 16 volunteer fire departments in the Regional District of Central Kootenay.
“It is difficult for rural fire departments to make ends meet these days without essential programs like the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund. This funding will allow us to replace 20-year-old handheld radios and purchase respiratory and personal protection equipment to keep our volunteer firefighters safe. We couldn’t afford the equipment without the grant,” Fire Chief Robert Ells for the Sandspit Volunteer Fire Department said in a press release.
The province has invested $369 million into CEPF since it was established in 2017, including more than $17 million to volunteer and composite fire departments for additional equipment and training. This funding also helps fire departments meet the B.C. structure firefighter minimum training standards.
Approximately $176 million has been provided to First Nations and local governments through CEPF for as many as 1,700 projects that help communities prepare for disasters and climate-related emergencies.
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