Firefighters in Smithers and Telkwa will be kept safer with their share of $6.3 million being allocated for equipment and training to bolster emergency response in the communities, the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness announced on Feb. 16.
A $30,000 funding boost will be provided to the Telkwa volunteer fire department for new turnout gear, through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF). Smithers fire department will receive $29,972 for fire training and equipment.
The program is distributing money to 114 local governments, First Nations, volunteer and composite fire departments. Composite fire departments have a mix of paid staff and volunteers.
“Many people across the province live in communities with fire services delivered by volunteer or part-volunteer fire departments and they depend on those fire crews to keep them and their families safe when fires happen,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.
“These fire crews have different challenges than most fire departments, and this funding will go a long way by supporting them to purchase new or replacement equipment and deliver training to their volunteers and staff.”
Other Northern B.C. fire departments are benefitting from the funding distribution. Also included is Masset which received $19,218 for equipment upgrades; Daajing Giids, $29,878 for training and equipment; Sandspit for equipment in the amount of $29,994; New Hazelton, $25,000 for gear upgrades; and Vanderhoof, $9,998 for portable radios to improve communications systems.
“Volunteer and composite fire departments are vital public safety partners in B.C.’s local and First Nations communities,” said Brian Godlonton, B.C.’s fire commissioner. “This funding for new equipment and training will support dedicated fire crews as they continue their important work in keeping communities safe.
More than $111 million has been distributed to 1,300 projects helping to mitigate and prepare for disasters and climate-related emergencies through the CEPF program since 2017. The funding runs from several streams, including public notification and evacuation planning, emergency support services, and extreme heat risk mapping, assessment and planning.
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-With files from