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Posted: March 6, 2020

Local governments get firefighting funding

The RDEK coordinates rural fire departments in the Elk Valley and Columbia Valley.

Volunteer and composite fire departments across B.C. have been approved to receive their share of $5 million in funding for equipment and training through the province’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF), including the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), Village of Radium Hot Springs and District of Sparwood.

The funding is distributed through the Union of BC Municipalities.

A total of 102 proposals have been approved so far for this newly established funding stream to help eligible applicants in local government and First Nations communities build resiliency with new or replacement equipment and firefighter training. Eligible fire departments include local governments, First Nations communities and society-run departments.

“Volunteer and composite fire departments are vital public safety partners in B.C.’s local and First Nations communities,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This funding for new equipment and training will support dedicated fire crews at more than 100 of these fire departments as they continue their work to keep communities safe.”

This $5 million in funding is part of an additional $69.5 million investment in the CEPF with an expanded eligibility to include volunteer and composite fire departments in First Nations communities. This is part of an initiative by EMBC to increase resiliency across all communities in British Columbia and improve B.C.’s overall emergency management system.

“It’s great to see so many communities take advantage of this funding,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “It’s our hope that these funds will help build resiliency across B.C. by ensuring local governments and First Nations have the tools they need to be ready for all hazards.”

Though the maximum amount of funding per applicant is $25,000, in many cases, regional districts submitted proposals involving many societies and fire departments. That means that in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars are going to regional districts to be further distributed.

That’s the cast with the RDEK, which is getting $191,216. Radium and Sparwood are each receiving $25,000.

The province announced this sixth stream of CEPF funding for volunteer and composite fire departments in May 2019. In addition, the province created a seventh stream, with $1 million for Indigenous Cultural Safety and Cultural Humility Training.

Lead image: Village of Radium Hot Springs Fire Hall. e-KNOW file photos

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