The provincial government is granting 57 First Nations and local governments, including the City of Merritt, a total of $2.2 million dollars to improve and modernize emergency support services (ESS) for those displaced by emergencies.
The investment comes from the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF), which is administered by the Union of BC Municipalities. The province said the new funds would allow governments to focus on volunteer recruitment, retention, and training, along with the purchasing of equipment. The funding also allows a move to online ESS registration, including direct payment by e-transfer to evacuees.
“British Columbians who are forced to evacuate their homes often rely on provincially funded emergency support services that are delivered in partnership with First Nations and local governments,” said Bowinn Ma, minister of emergency management and climate readiness.
“This funding will help communities build up capacity to better deliver these supports to people during very stressful situations as we continue modernizing and improving ESS.”
The City of Merritt received a total of $28,391.81 from the province, which will be used to build the program’s capacity. The city recruits volunteers year round for different ESS positions, with the team most notable recent activity taking place during the wildfires and flooding of recent years.
The provincial Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness bolstered the CEPF funding stream in February of this year with a $180 million investment, bringing the program’s total to $369 million since its establishment in 2017.
For more information on the City of Merritt’s ESS program, visit www.merritt.ca/ESS.