The B.C. government announced in a press release on Sept. 22 a funding of almost $5 million to support and improve emergency response in local fire departments across the province.
According to the release, the funding has been divided into three portions. Firstly, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) has received $1.4 million for community firefighting and the purchase of new or replacement fire equipment.
As for the second portion, $1.75 million has been assigned to the Fire Chief’s Association of British Columbia to support rural communities and First Nation fire departments by providing regional access to joint fire training for fire services.
Lastly, the final portion of $1.6 million was distributed to the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit for a marketing campaign that aims to target youth and seniors, who are over-represented in fire-related incidents.
In the release, B.C. Premier David Eby recognized the hard work community and volunteer firefighters have done throughout this year’s wildfire season.
“Every day, we depend on firefighters and we need to ensure they have everything they need to do their life-saving work. That’s why we’re helping rural, First Nation and volunteer fire departments upgrade their equipment and access enhanced training,” he said.
Eby also said the funding will strengthen the firefighting capacity across the province, ensuring that everyone gets the help they need during an emergency.
Art Anderson, executive director of the Volunteer Firefighters Association of BC, welcomed the news about the funding, calling it “critical for the survival of volunteer fire services in British Columbia.”
“Volunteer fire services cover almost 80 per cent of the land base and with wildfires and more people moving into rural areas, funding for training and equipment is needed,” he said. “This year’s funding and the live-fire training project is a great step forward.”
The new funding adds to the $6.3 million provided by the provincial government earlier this year to more than 100 volunteer and composite fire departments for their equipment and training.